Roots

60ffd7187c152b73f2e0833b21c5b76aMaya Angelou once said “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.”

I moved to Upstate South Carolina when I was thirteen years old, it was the day after Christmas during my 8th grade school year. I was angry with my parents, I loved where I lived and didn’t want to leave. We had a beautiful home on a bay off Lake Ontario; where summers meant hours on the dock and playing outside until there was no light left, our parents never worrying about where we were. Fall was the time we’d eat apples picked from the orchards we weren’t supposed to be playing in. Winters included ice skating on the rink you shoveled yourself and sledding all day on the neighborhood hill. Spring meant waking up early to ride your bike to school, even though it was entirely too far. Those memories will forever be etched in my mind. There were a lot of good times and great friends; it was home to me then.

Recently, the opportunity to relive those days through the memories of others opened up to me. A few old friends contacted me through Facebook, strangely though I could only recall their names. I’ve tried to pull memories back from things they’ve told me, it’s all fuzzy now and I can’t seem to bring them into focus. I remember certain moments clear as day; the kind of moments that bring deep emotion and change us into who we become as we grow up. Those feelings like, shame, pride, embarrassment, fear and loneliness are powerful. The emotional reactions we have today as adults come from the time in our lives between fifth grade and high school, where events and situations start to establish our reaction to similar ones for the rest of our lives.

I was chatting with one of these old friends a few days ago and a girl we went to school with came up in conversation, of course I only remembered the name and recalled that we were friends but with her it was different. It brought back one of those memories connected with emotion. It was about her mother, she was our Girl Scout Troop Leader. The memory that came to mind was sitting on the grass in a circle in their beautiful front yard. I couldn’t focus on what she was teaching because I was anxious and crying. I went to the principal’s office that day for fighting with another girl and needed to tell my parents that evening. The belt was still used in those days and I was scared. I remember how she comforted me, told me how to talk to my parents and reassured me that it would all be ok. It was a memory that remained because it carried with it the feelings of shame and fear. Even today when I make a mistake or poor decision and have to admit that I was wrong, those same feeling well up inside me like I’m eleven all over again. I’ve had many other ‘moment in time’ memories just like that one, which seem to stir those emotions from childhood, that come flooding back as an adult.

At the time moving away seemed so devastating but today I couldn’t imagine being anywhere other than where I am now. I have become a southern woman, with northern roots. My first taste of the Lowcountry was in college, 1988. Moving to Charleston, the city with the smell of pluff mud rising from the marshes, the scent of jasmine which hangs on the history of downtown, and the taste of salt that the summer ocean brings; it becomes a part of you. I really grew up here; this is where I became an adult. However, I left in my early twenties knowing I would someday come back and stay. When that opportunity came I didn’t flinch, I knew it was where I belonged.

When I moved back to my southern home in 2002, I made a promise to myself and silently to my children. I would do everything and anything to keep them right where we are today. I wanted them to go through their school years with all the same friends, to know the comfort of having lifelong roots. They are beginning to start their lives, on the verge of becoming adults too; I just hope that this is the city where they choose to keep themselves planted.

Love,

g

The Great Bambino

My mind is spinning today and all I can think about is the Babe…

In August 1994 my oldest sister married a wonderful man. She married the Great Bambino, not one of the greatest Yankees of all time, the one that sparked the Red Sox curse but the true Babe of our family. Babe, as he’s been called since childhood, is the kind of man who every woman should want to marry. He’s a man’s man, straight forward, hard-working, loving, can fix anything, loves his family, always has the answer yet lets you make your own mistakes. He’s going to point out that he told you so; followed by a chuckle, a gentle dig letting you know he’s kidding… sorta. He’s a man who laughs from his gut and smiles with his eyes. He’s a man who surprises his wife with a plane ticket so she can hold her newborn granddaughter even though they were planning a trip in 4 weeks. He’s a man who sends his wife off to see her sister when she needs her most. The man who you’d never think would coo over a baby, yet his enormous hands are the most gentle of all. He’s the man who repaired a family and made them whole again.

My oldest son Will and I are very close; we talk about everything from the weather to dating, drinking, sex and drugs. Most of our conversations happen after one of us has come home from a night out or when one of us is having a “bad day” with all that our family has gone through. I remember this particular conversation so clearly and its stuck with me ever since. It’s no secret to anyone; including my children that dating since Zed passed away has not gone well. There were QJ’s lies that destroyed not just me but my children; BDD’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality that caught us all off guard and I still can’t believe it happened. It was a few days after Mr. Hyde showed his face and I was crying in the kitchen. Not for him but because my children had seen too much. Will, the witness to the madness, sat on the stool and looked at me so very thoughtfully with slight tears in his eyes and said “Mom, I just want you to find your Babe” I cried even harder. He couldn’t have said it any better and his perception of love and life was never so clear to me. He’s a brilliant kid with a tender heart. I knew exactly what he meant by that one sentence. It runs through my head all the time.

I have met a Babe. I know without any doubt that the man I’m seeing now is absolutely a Babe. We spent a lot of time together this weekend, two dates and lots of laughing, kissing, touching, affection and A LOT of disbelief for both of us. I know it seems completely insane and I can’t explain the turn of events in my world over the last few weeks the unexpected seems to be happening right before my eyes.

I wonder if he can hit a home run like the Babe? He is a Boston boy but a Yankees fan… Does it get any better?

Love,

g

Belief

I believe in love.  I believe in marriage.  I believe that no matter how difficult the road is, all marriages can survive even the most difficult of situations.  I have a lot of friends who have faced very real and what can seem, to most, as impossible to forgive events.  However, if you are both diligent, choose humility and forgiveness, the best part of your marriage can be on the other side.  Marriage is not easy, if you think it is you have not had your trial yet.  You will in some way, be prepared and choose to love your way through it without losing yourself.

We are all guilty of making poor decisions, giving into our inner desires instead of what is right.  It can be a relationship outside of marriage, a crime, financial difficulties, anything that betrays your partners trust.  I’ve been guilty myself.  I’ve also been the one that has been scorned.  I try to encourage my friends to work through their difficulties, I tell them how wonderful my marriage was after Zed, and I fought through some trials.  The things I’ve experienced and the choices I’ve made in my past have made me who I am today.  I’m not proud of a lot of it.  Nevertheless, I am different because of it all.  I would never make the same choices today.

It was on a Tuesday Morning around 3:00AM in January of 2011, my phone rang, it was a blocked call but I knew it was him; QJ, I couldn’t help myself, I answered anyway knowing I shouldn’t.  I needed to know why?  I still need to know why?  It was only three weeks after he married her, six weeks since my world was turned upside down, only seven weeks since we spent Thanksgiving with my whole extended family.  He played the game well and I was blindsided.

I answered and said “Hello” there was silence but I knew he was there.  I repeated myself several times asking, “Why are you calling?”  Nothing, just silence.  So, I started talking about everything that was going on in our lives, myself and the kids.  I told him of going on vacation, my upcoming trip to Pittsburgh anything, except speak about my daughter.  I figured if I spoke softly and let him know that I still loved him that he would say something.  He never said a word.  I finally said “If you are not going to brave enough to speak I’m hanging up.” so I did.

The next night the same thing, the phone rang, silence…  This time I was angry, I said “the least you could fucking do is say you’re sorry!” that is when the sound came, a grown man sobbing on the other end of the line, pure sobs; I could feel his heart breaking through the phone.  All I heard was “I’m sorry” through the sobs.  I hated him and loved him in the same moment.  My heart ripped out of my chest.  It was validation of what I already knew, he really did love me.  He still was not speaking anything else so I began asking questions.  “Why did you marry her?”, “You could have made any other choice!”, “Why?”  All I heard was “Reilly?” infuriated I said “You lost the right to know anything about her.”, he claimed he loved my daughter as if she were his own.  He said he loved all my children and he would be there for them for the rest of his life.  At least that is what I thought, what he made me believe.  I now know, if that were the case, he wouldn’t have sacrificed them for his own selfish gain.

He couldn’t answer why, in the thousand times that I’ve asked since that first phone call, he’s never given me a reason.  He’s never said he was happy, he’s never said he made the right choice, he’s never said he is no longer in love with me, quite the opposite.  That day began a year of torture for me when all I wanted was closure.  I wanted him to tell me that he chose marriage, that he believed in love, and that he knew he would be happier on the other side with her, that he was sorry for the thousands of lies he told.  Instead, I just got more lies that lead me down a very dark road.

Even today my heart still breaks for the love I thought I had, for the person I thought he was, I still love that person, the one that doesn’t exist.

Love,

g

What’s Worse?

I’ve contemplated this question a lot over the past couple of years. Which is worse, to have your heart broken in a failed relationship or to lose your spouse to death? In the past 2 years, 6 months and 18 days I’ve experienced both. How does that happen? Well its simple when you lose a spouse especially one that you are madly in love with all you can do is beg for the world to stop spinning. That feeling still haunts me today, lying in my bed not wanting to deal with school, kids, life, making dinners, friends, phone calls and bills; just needing to be in the moment and grieve. It doesn’t work that way, the sun still comes up every day, the kids still need to be fed, and there are a million things that need to be done. My whole purpose became about making life normal again for my kids, to keep their world spinning smoothly. Holding onto a house, I shouldn’t have, seeming happy when I wasn’t, laughing when I really needed to be crying. In addition, through all of it, I just wanted to feel normal again, to talk to the one I was missing; to feel their touch and have their support. It’s an unexplainable feeling that is different for everyone. To have someone just gone one day is torture. I’d never experienced it before and I live in fear of experiencing it again.

There have been a few men in my life since Zed died. HD, who really was just a blip on the radar and not a relationship. There was BDD who saved my life, held my hair, my hand and my heart for a moment, but I broke his because I couldn’t love him the way he needed me to. The King who has been a quiet presence for a little over a year with his occasional “how are you?” texts, long philosophical conversations & debates, a friend. Ooh and I can’t forget GI Joe…damn! Nothing ever happened with him, wrong time, and wrong place but we had a couple of great moments that still make me laugh. Sure would have liked to know what could have happened there, think he’s just as nuts as me, and only guessing but just as damaged. But today it’s about him, the one that almost took my life. I want to scream his name and expose him for the pain he caused me, my family and friends but I won’t; QJ changed me. He broke me just as much as losing Zed. Sometimes I think it was worse.

QJ’s story will take me several posts to tell. It’s a whole chapter of my life that I’m still trying to resolve in my mind. It was a scandal, sexy, sweet, dirty, and full of wild passionate love, the kind that you only experience once and really never want to experience again. Nevertheless, my mind goes back trying to search for that moment, the one moment I can still feel, where everything I thought I once knew about being connected to another human being changed…forever. I don’t know if I will ever feel that again. I want to, it was an explosion of every emotion I ever felt in one single event that left me happy, sad, crying, scared, ashamed, vulnerable and for once fully trusting another person with the truth of the deepest secrets of my true self. I beg some days to bring that all back but have contempt in my heart for all the events that followed and could never forgive him for the destruction of my life and family, that came with his game. It was all a lie; I was so desperate to feel whole again I gave myself to a man who almost took my life.

At Zed’s funeral we had a receiving line. Everyone came through hugging, crying and sometimes laughing giving their best condolences. I distinctly remember QJ being there. I wanted to be sure that I spoke to him. He sent the largest most beautiful arrangement of flowers, and I wanted to acknowledge them to him personally. I saw him walk through the door, look at us standing there; me and my children. What he did was the epitome of him, he didn’t wait in line, he walk directly around everyone else and came straight to me. He hugged me told me he was sorry turned around and walked out the door. He didn’t stay. I later learned it took all he had to come there, funerals are not his thing.

It was several weeks after Zed passed away when I received the first email. It was two sentences, something like, I’m going to stop by and bring you some brownies and wine. I thought it was a little odd. This man who I’d known for about a year and only had a few conversations with, to email me but everyone was checking on me at that point. The very short emails bounced back and forth between us for weeks. We would talk at our bi-weekly card games that continued without pause after Zed was gone. It was a way for us all to feel normal and to hold onto him. At one of the games we talked quite a bit and he asked for my number, I gave it to him knowing that he was probably interested in more than just being a supportive friend. However, I was lonely and he made me feel beautiful and important. He called me about 3 days later while in California on business, we talked on the phone for hours, until three or four in the morning about everything. It was like a warm blanket had been draped over me all in an attempt to ease the pain. He covered me with that blanket for over a year, all while living another life too.

It will unfold like the pages of a fiction novel, but it’s all real. A story that keeps changing as the days go by and life continues to heal. What a wonderful thing it is to be human and continually learn to be happy with who is present in your life, to find peace in the moment.

Love,
g

The Last Was Best

The last date I had with HD was wonderful; we went to dinner earlier this week, sat close, held hands, and enjoyed each other’s company. We made out in the car when he dropped me off and text each other the rest of the night until I fell asleep. Unfortunately that was our last date. I’m not really sure what happened after that? Sometimes things just fizzle out; he has been distant and aloof since and stood me up this weekend with no explanation or communication. Being stood up is a new experience for me and seemed completely out of character for him but that’s why we date so we can really learn who someone is, I learned something that I wasn’t expecting and can’t accept. He was a great experience and I can walk away knowing that our last date was incredible. He was a sweet, kind, generous man that I’m happy I had the chance to get to know a little.

In thinking about our time together it’s left me remembering the best last date I’ve ever had. As I’m sitting here at the place that Zed, my late husband, lost his life, I can’t remember the last words I said to him. I’ve tried a million times. However, I can remember the last date we had, every detail. Right down to what he was wearing.

The week leading up to Zed’s death was hectic he had been working insane hours. Our little company had been suffering just like everyone else. The construction industry had been crippled by the economy and we had let all of our employees go. Zed was working by himself and making it work financially for our family. He would work outside jobs all day, take a little break then go back out and work an inside job into the night. Crazy thing was he loved it; he had such pride in his work and what he had built for himself.

The kids had been gone for the summer as they usually are and were returning on Sunday. It was our last weekend together before homework, activities and kids took our lives back over. In summers past we went out to nice dinners or cooked gourmet meals at home together; that summer was different we were being very careful with our money and hadn’t been out at all.

It was a Friday night; I had worked all day and was lying on the sofa exhausted from the week. Zed came walking through the garage door covered in paint but happy, excited with his huge beautiful smile plastered on his face. He said “let’s go out, I want to take my beautiful wife out to our favorite place and enjoy how hard we’ve been working.” I of course fought him, saying we couldn’t spend the money. He wouldn’t have it, he said the kids are coming home on Sunday; we have poker here tomorrow let’s just have some time to ourselves. I finally agreed and we got ready and headed to our spot, High Thyme on Sullivan’s Island.

On our way to dinner we stopped by the job site he had been working at for a few weeks, to check on the equipment. He got out of the car and the family came out to greet him. Everyone loved Zed, his clients became friends and he never met a stranger. They didn’t recognize him at first; he was dressed up, clean shaven just handsome. He introduced us and they told me how he talked about me and the kids all the time.

When we arrived at High Thyme we were greeted like we usually were by Emily at the bar and Kenny the owner. We had a drink and laughed with Emily while we waited for a table. We were seated at an intimate table in the back of the dining room where we had an amazing meal and perfect conversation.

Zed was always thinking about life, what he wanted to do next, how to be a better man, husband and father. He held my hand across the table and talked about our kids. They weren’t of his body but he loved them like they were his own there was no difference. He talked about the upcoming school year and how he wanted to be closer to them and encourage them more to strive for their dreams. He told me how much he loved me and how grateful he was for our life together. That he wanted to be a better husband to me. It was perfect all the things that every woman wants to hear.. needs to hear. After dinner we walked out to the beach and were just quiet together walking, listening to the water and enjoying the warm ocean breeze. Holding hands, kissing… In love.

When we got home that night we didn’t make it far, walked in the door making out and ripping off our clothes. We had amazing sofa sex that night; the kind where you’re sweaty and out of breath when it’s all over. Zed was my other half, my balance, never to be replaced always in my soul.

The next morning we were up early and heading out the door; me to the gym for back to back classes and him to the job site for a couple of hours to finish up. I don’t know if I said goodbye, if I told him I loved him, we always did a kiss and an, I love you but for some reason I just can’t remember if we did that day. That afternoon he lost his life and I lost part of mine too…
That was the best last date I’ve ever had.

I love and miss you Zed.

Love,
g

Good Vibrations

For the past couple of days I’ve been struggling to write this post. Not because I have nothing to say but because I have too much to say. So many things have been going through my mind after my amazing first date with a pretty amazing guy. I’m not one to be surprised too much by people, I believe given the right situation anyone is capable of anything, even if you say “I’d never do that”. I was surprised this weekend by the quality of the character of HD. He reminded me of something I had forgotten, a lesson I’d learned years ago but let slip away during my years of grief and turmoil.

My kids were watching the movie, The Help, it was playing in the background as I was trying to write. That story cuts me to the center of my being, how we as a society used to live and in some ways still do. When I met Zed, my late husband, I was immediately attracted to him, only problem he was everything I wasn’t suppose to want. Zed was a very beautiful dark-skinned black man who referred to himself as Burnt Sienna from the Crayola box. This was against everything I had been taught while growing up as being acceptable. Even in 1999, it was tough to share with family and friends, we had many bumps in the road during our relationship. It was made even more complicated because I had three gorgeous but very white children from my first marriage.

The lesson I learned was if you let go of what society thinks is normal the most amazing things can happen. I turned my back on other people’s ideas of who the right person was for me and had a wonderful love affair with a man who surprised everyone by loving us completely. He raised three children that weren’t his own and made extraordinary sacrifices for us. My point is if I hadn’t given him a chance I wouldn’t have had the happiness I did. So much more to say about this but that will be later.

I love the unexpected journey life takes you on sometimes. I’ve tried to be open to new people and accept them as they are. I went into this weekend’s date thinking this isn’t my typical type of guy but maybe it will be fun and I’ll have a new experience. From the outside world looking in you’d see HD as a biker, working class guy and maybe make some judgements on who he is by the clothes he wears or his mode of transportation. It would be so sad to do that because you’d be missing out on a really incredible man with a sweet soul.

I love first dates to be relaxed and easy. I mean you’re already nervous who wants the pressure of having to be boxed into some sort of fairytale setting. That’s why the burger date works. The place the guy chooses says a lot about who he is and what he likes but if he takes you to McDonald’s you’re screwed! I have a list of places that I love for a great burger. Poe’s Tavern is at the top and consistent. BEST burger by far is 17 North, most people wouldn’t think of 17N as a burger joint but wow! When you’re eating food with your hands it naturally drops your defenses and makes you more relaxed. I prefer this more for the guys than for myself, if they can be more themselves they will be more open and talk. Besides If a guy can handle watching me eat a huge rare burger with grease running down my hand, shoving french fries in my mouth and still want a second date… That’s awesome.

I arrived at HD’s house on Friday night, yes I had to go to meet him, he didn’t pick me up. But in his defense I had to go there to be sure he had the right helmet that fit me. After contemplating the slight drizzle of rain and if we were gonna attempt to ride (I got bonus points for saying who cares if we get wet, let’s go for it). He fitted me with a wind breaker and a very attractive helmet. It had a sticker on it that said “good kid gone bad” his joke of course was “were you ever good?” Nope!

There is an instant intimacy that happens when you climb on the back of a mans motorcycle. Your bodies are touching, you’re holding on and leaning in to talk. Then add in the power of the motorcycle wow very sexy. Definitely have a new appreciation for Harleys and totally get why people love them. Things I look for on a first date are pretty typical; does he open my door, etc. Tonight was different there were no car doors but he had already shown such thoughtfulness in preparation I knew he would have. Then as we were riding he did the most intimate and caring thing. Every time we’d come to a bump in the road he’d reach back put his arm around my leg to be sure I was secure. Better than opening the door.

He chose one of my favorite places to grab a burger or sandwich, The Tattooed Moose. He got major points for picking a place on my mental list. It was packed and loud as it usually is; We grabbed a beer at the bar and then snagged a booth. We sat on the same side, bonus, meant he wanted to be close and hear every word. It was like there wasn’t anyone else there, we talked the whole time. I’m sure I even talked with my mouth full. He didn’t seem to care.

We ventured back to our side of town and stopped at a local bar and had a couple of drinks and talked more feeling the intimacy building. As women we know when a man is ready to go in for that first kiss, the pauses in conversation with your eyes locked. He restrained himself and so did I. It was like a whole night of very slow foreplay.

We ended the evening where it began, back at his house. He invited me in for a drink, of course I said yes. It took all of 4 minutes for him to kiss me. It was one of those press you against the fridge full body kisses that you feel in your knees. I gathered my senses really quickly and said I better leave. He agreed but not without a few more kisses that were all incredible. This is the most important thing, he never crossed the line and he didn’t even try. Even better he made plans to see me again before I left. That’s how you know a man is first of all a gentleman, secondly that he’s really into you.

I’m so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and looked at someone new with unclouded eyes. Couldn’t have been a better date and our second was the next day! More later

Love,
g

Finding My Little g Spot

I love football. It has become a big part of my life over the past thirteen years. I remember as a child on Sundays when the game was on, it meant that you couldn’t watch anything else because Dad would be sleeping on the sofa. But thirteen years ago it began to change, my future husband, Zed, was obsessed with all things football but especially the Steelers, recording games all on VHS tape, making bets and trying to watch as many games as possible. It became part of me too.

In football everything hinges on ten yards, just ten small yards can change the course of a game. Gives you another chance to achieve your goal or can send your team to defeat and turn your once promising season into the end. Ten yards changed my life too. Do you know how far ten yards is? It’s thirty feet, thirty feet took my husband’s life on August 2nd, 2009 and changed my life forever. I became a widow at 39.

Welcome to my Little g Spot. I’m glad you decided to read a little, even if it’s only once but I hope you choose to follow along on my crazy ride. I’ve been threatening for a long time to start a blog about my funny experiences dating as a widowed mother of three teenagers. Only problem, it isn’t always funny, the emotions and difficulties that come with transitioning from having the life I once knew to the one I have now has been gut wrenching. I wish that I was one of those people who did it well with grace and class but I’m not.

So here is what you’ll get, I promise at times it will be wildly funny, I always have a story. There will be cursing, sex, alcohol and bad behavior but there will also be moments of sadness and tears. You may feel empathy or maybe even pity for me. But at the end of the day I just hope to find myself. Best case scenario I hope that in someway and at some point the look into my very small world gives someone else a smile or helps them through a dark spot in their own life. Or at the least be glad you’re not me.

The topics will mostly revolve around my friends and dating but will also include my kids, weight, depression and financial difficulties and triumphs. So a little randomness to get me through the day. narcissistic? Yup, blame Oprah. She made us all look at ourselves and share it with the world…blah blah blah. I just want true happiness and peace for the life I have now, don’t have it yet but I’m still searching.

Love,

g