Tuesday, December 31, 2013

There is Hope if You Let Yourself "Just Be"

Happy New Year to everyone! I've been off of the blog world for a while; God's plan for me has taken me to places I never thought imaginable about 5 years ago when my world fell apart after losing Rachel to melanoma. As we make our way into 2014, I want to share with you some advice learned through personal encounters and life events that I hope will give you hope; hope when you have encountered tragedy, loss, grief, frustration, sadness, or whatever painful experiences you have been faced with.

Melanoma, and cancer in general, can rip us apart. It can destroy our faith in God, in medical professionals, and even in ourselves. To see someone you love dearly dying and not being able to do anything is crushing to the soul. Those of you who have read this blog over the last five years have seen the path that Rachel and I and her family have taken. You have seen the hurt, the loss, and the grief we have experienced. Thankfully, you have seen the blessings, the miracles, and the beauty we have also experienced due to our faith and love of God and one another. I implore all of you to take our experiences as well as the good and bad experiences you've had and make yourself a promise to always look for the positive. In the last five years of our lives, we have come so far, and our faith has been such a big part of that. Those of us who have been touched by Rachel's life and love and knowing that there is an angel looking out for all of us has been a guiding light leading us to where we are now, and continues to be a beacon leading us through the present into a bright future.You have heard me discuss our core values of Faith, Family, and Friends (those 3 F's!), but here is something else that has kept me going since those dark times in 2009. That something I know as: Just Be.

Shortly after Rachel's passing, Fr. Tim O'Neill, our pastor at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Hubbard, OH, talked with us and told us what it means to "Just Be". Father Tim has brought the concept of "Just Be" to many people via his homilies and sermons in church and I even read about him discussing this years ago as a young Jesuit Priest to a young athlete from reading the biography of a local world champion boxer, Ray Mancini, called "The Good Son" by Mark Kriegel. What a simple, yet powerful statement that is. Just Be. Two words. One sentence. Many meanings.

Just Be. Have you ever just sat somewhere and taken in what is all around you? Smelled the air, looked at the scenery, thought about what is good in your life? How many times do you focus on the negative and what worries you have? When you try and Just Be, you take a break from all of those external stressors and focus on what good is in your life. You have heard me discuss miracles in previous posts. I'll say this again: Most miracles that we experience we are blind to because we are not looking for them or we don't consider them miracles. We are looking for the "big story" miracles; you know, the ones that you read in magazines and newspapers. We fail most of the time to see what miracles are happening because we can't see the forest for the trees! Just Be. Give yourself time to sit back and relax. Close your eyes. Focus on the miracles that you have experienced today. The sunrise, your children, your parents, the love people have for you - these are commonly missed miracles! Let the good in your life (I promise no matter how bad things may be there are positives there!) take over your mind. Focus on how no matter how hard things have been for you, you have made it through, although maybe scarred or injured emotionally or physically. Your being here through it all is a good example of the concept of Just Be.

Five years ago, I was a man who had lost his way in life, through the tragedy of losing his amazing and beautiful wife. I had lost my way and had no compass to guide me through life. I was a ship without sails caught in many turbulent currents surrounded by heavy seas and torrential storms. Many of these storms were of my own creation. I tried so hard to make things right, to re-create my life to make it the way it was. I never heard of the "Just Be" concept. I was more of a "Just Try" or "Just Maybe" sort of guy. I made some rash and sometimes horrible decisions. It took a strong faith renewed by my brothers and sisters in Christ to give me a compass. It took the concept of "Just Be" to give me my sails. I realized I am part of something bigger. I am in the world. I am one of God's children. I am a miracle. I am surrounded by miracles. I am me. I am a gift. I have been blessed with countless gifts. I have faith, faith that can carry me through the depths of hell! Deep breath, and there I am, doing just what God wants me to be in Him, with Him, and through Him. Just Be.

Now as I make my way forward with all of you, my family and friends, I look at the importance and the impact of Just Be in my life. I have remarried; she is a beautiful woman who accepts and understands my past, and has an unshakable faith in God like I do, and her name is Kristy. I have just witnessed the birth of our first child, a young girl we named Reyanne Beverly Possert. Life has not always been easy. It is sometimes very hard. But here I am, and here we are. Join me in this beautiful world full of miracles and realize that in order to lose ourselves in the good in our lives and move forward through the hard times, we must sometimes Just Be. I wish all of you blessings and miracles in your lives. You are a miracle, you are loved. Just Be.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Change is Good!

Hello to all of our amazing family and friends! As you can see, there are some small changes I have made to Rach's Blog. I believe these changes are vital in order to accomplish a few things:
- The need to shift the focus to a more informational and inspirational theme vice a sad and heartbreaking theme.
- The need to make this more about her and how her story can save the lives of others by educating them.
- The ability for those using Google and other search engines to find her blog, enabling us to help others.

I really wanted to take any of the focus off of me, the author and her husband before she lost her battle to melanoma, and place it on where it needs to be - on her. I encourage those of you who have just found this blog to read it from the beginning (Nov/Dec 2009) and read it the entire way through to the end. I promise you, you will get something out of it. For those of you who are familiar with this blog, take the time to revisit some of the entries. I do from time to time; it provides me with inspiration and strength!

This past January, we passed three years since Rachel lost her battle with malignant melanoma. For some of us, it is still fresh in our minds and hearts. In the three years since her death, there have been some extremely important happenings in the areas applicable to malignant melanoma, tanning regulation, and cancer research. I will mention a few of these below.

Melanoma Treatment 2011 - A year of Milestones

Key Melanoma Issues

State & National Melanoma Issues

Some "educational" videos for you and those you love. Please pass it on! Oh, and check out a few of my blogs I follow on the left - these are written by folks who have been in the same fight we have. The videos:

I hope you enjoy the changes and the new attitude "Team Rachel" will be bringing to the fight against melanoma! I will soon start adding information for this year's American Cancer Society's "Relay for Life" - Team Rachel to be held in mid-May! God bless!


Friday, November 11, 2011

The Great Effectiveness Of Cancer Survivor Networks

A great write-up and guest post from a new friend of mine; a teammate in the fight against cancer. Thanks to Mr. David Haas; please enjoy!

Cancer survivor networks are a wonderful resource for anyone who has been affected by cancer. This goes from those who have just left the doctor with a diagnosis of a rare cancer like mesothelioma to the families of those who are in remission and hoping to stay that way. The American Cancer Society hosts a survivor's network for anyone who has been afflicted.

However, any survivor's network can offer beneficial information to patients and families who are looking to cope with the diagnosis or learn to live after cancer. Another form of network helps families and patients to deal with the cancer and treatment.

For example, not only does the ACS (American Cancer Society) have a survivor's network, but they also have a resource library for those who are fighting the disease right now. There are so many items to consider. Patients have to know how to deal with the side effects of treatment, physical activity during treatment, and even how to eat properly during treatment.

These resources are useful for the families who must take care of cancer patients because nutrition and physical activity are often left up to the family and not the patient. Moreover, knowing all of this extra information can help to make the treatment easier to bear.

Taking this information from a network of family members and patients may offer insight into treatment options that may not have been discussed with a physician. Learning from another family or patient about certain treatment methods can open up new options to patients who are currently having a hard time with treatment. This is also a wonderful way to find referrals for good doctors in your area. Sometimes, the best referral comes from someone who is dealing with cancer and currently working with the doctor they are referring.

Finding all the tools necessary to deal with cancer, help a patient in need, or learn to cope with life after cancer should be done through a network that brings patients and survivors together. Sharing information is one of the best ways that we can fight this insidious disease. Working together can help patients and families from around the globe battle cancer with dignity and grace.

Thanks again David! More guest posts and posts from me to come! God bless all of you fighting the battle against cancer and my prayers to the caretakers and family and friends of those who are fighting!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Love and Peace

Happy holidays everyone. I can tell you that despite the extreme loss our families and friends have experienced this year by the loss of our angel, Rach, we are keeping the faith. While we will all be sad because she isn't with us for this, our first Christmas since she went to be with God, we continue to be picked up by the love surrounding us. I started my holiday leave, which doubles as pre-deployment leave (I go on deployment early next month) last Friday. Let me tell you all how that has gone, and hopefully catch you up since my last post.

In August, I transferred from Ohio, where the Navy was stationing me during my Humanitarian Reassignment due to Rachel's illness and passing, to Mayport, Florida (near Jacksonville). I can't lie to you, it was quite difficult. Making the trip knowing I was going back to an apartment that she never truly got the chance to live in; an abode that contained 99% of the last 7 years of my life with her. Memories (good and sad), realizing I would be going back to work without her support, knowing that I would be alone in my apartment without her companionship; these were all things on my mind as I traveled down. I'm not going to lie; it was daunting. I started to try and date someone; which I thought was going to be okay. I found out that I was not ready in many ways than one. I started to experience some health issues due to depression and anxiety. These issues were made worse by my ship's visit to Norfolk, VA (where Rach and I spent the first half our lives together and actually where we got married - click this link for that story). Things got so bad for me emotionally I had to get my medications adjusted. I was taking 50 mg of Zoloft daily and 1 mg of Xanax as needed. The docs upped my Zoloft to 100 mg daily and changed my Xanax to 1 mg of Ativan as needed. Both changes started to help me feel normal and I am glad to say that I feel so much better emotionally. Things in Jacksonville are going much better.

During my visit to Norfolk, I stopped by the USS Wisconsin to reflect and reminisce about one of the best times of my life. As much pain as I may have experienced being there; the memories of great times there warmed me up a bit. Still, I was a bit upset. I decided one night to go out and stay at a hotel in downtown Norfolk. While staying there I decided to go shopping at the McArthur Center Mall in downtown. I went to the Barnes & Noble bookstore in there and while holding back tears, bought a book written by the "medium" made famous by the NBC TV show "Medium", Allison DuBois. The book was called "We Are Their Heaven". I spent the entire night at the hotel reading this book and bawling my eyes out over some of the stories people which Allison shared in this book. I used to be quite cynical, until Rachel's passing. Reading this book really interested me in this woman; so much, in fact, that I felt compelled to go see a seminar of her's down in Orlando. It was really beautiful and I made a few good friends there. I'm actually getting a personal reading via phone from her and I'm excited to hear what she has to say.

I started my leave last Friday, and it has truly been a treat. Spending some quality time with my Dad, my Grandparents, and multitudes of family and friends was just what the doctor ordered. I bought my father a laptop and finally got him into the 21st century! It made me feel good to do that for him. I found Rachel's last painting at the apartment, I matted and framed it, and gave it to them for Christmas. I spent some time with Rachel's nieces, who are little angels in their own right. I went to a Cleveland Cavaliers game; and the ticket I bought were in the 1st row behind the basket; and I had a blast! While I was able to spend time with a good number of my family and friends, there were still many who I was unable to visit or meet up with, and I miss and love you all whether or not I was able to see you.

Another thing I have been inspired to do by Rachel and by the support structure I have been surrounded with, thanks to my 3F's (Faith, Family, and Friends), is getting involved with my Catholic and Christian vocation. While on deployment, I will be the ship's Catholic Lay Leader, and will be doing a witness for my hometown Parish, St. Patrick's, for their Men's Renewal. I would love to be able to do so in person, but I will be overseas during the Renewal, so I am going to video it and send it to the team for the event. I hope that I can use my experiences from my life, and especially from this last year, to continue to inspire more people.

As we get closer to this holiday, do something for me; for yourself; for your loved ones. Show them your love any way you can. Tell them, hold them, give in their name, donate your time and talents with them and for them. If you are holding a grudge, contact the person and forgive them. Pray for your enemies. Pray for peace. Pray for love. Pray for each other. I love you all and may your holidays be filled with much love and peace.

Here is video I thought I would share with you all. Some good advice is in it. Enjoy and God Bless.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

LIVESTRONG Action Dedication to Rachel

The Livestrong wristbandImage via Wikipedia


I just dedicated a page to my late spouse Rachel Beasley-Possert at LIVESTRONG Action.

This page is a part of the world's largest dedication book that LIVESTRONG Action will use to pressure world leaders to do more to fight cancer. Can you add your name to my dedication page? It'll only take a second, and you can help me reach my target of 25 dedications. Please click here, it only takes a second:


Right now, Lance Armstrong is dedicating his ride in the Tour de France to the fight against cancer. And after the race, he'll send this dedication book with your signature to world leaders and pressure them to make cancer a priority in their own countries. It's our best chance to push for better treatment, more funding for cancer research and access to care for everyone around the world.

But if people like us don't stand up, these leaders won't pay attention.

Will you check out my dedication page? Rachel Beasley-Possert inspired me to take action - hopefully they'll inspire you to do the same:


You all have been amazing. Keep up the fantastic support and know my love and prayers are with all of you no matter where you are or what you are doing! God Bless!!!!

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Inspiration. It's All Around Us.

Yeah. That's right. Why haven't I been blogging more often? Is it because I am limiting myself to the more short-attention span focused mini-blogging sites like Facebook and Twitter? Well, not exactly. Yes, I have been all over them; posting many different things, good, bad, indifferent. What's the common bond between all the things I have been up to everywhere but here lately?


Let's see. It has been a at least a couple of months since I have posted on here. That doesn't mean I haven't wanted to. I just didn't have the inspiration to actually write an entire entry. The things I have been through in the past few months have all together been some of the most refreshing, spiritual, fulfilling, meaningful, and most of all needed things I've experienced in years. You all know what happened five months ago. You all have seen the transformation in my tone, my personality, and my faith. What could possibly be so inspirational that it takes a human being and changes them so drastically (in a good way)?

As I have wrote in the blog before, the support of literally thousands of people is one of the things that never ceases to amaze me. Now that I have run the gamut of pain, anguish, sadness, etc., and seen how everyone was there for me, I now have seen how everyone responds to those who have gone through what I have. It's like a waterfall. Water keeps falling over the edge, because of gravity, yet it is beautiful. People, without thinking, jump into the act of supporting, consoling, loving someone who needs it. The numero uno most important thing I think God has blessed us with as humans is LOVE. When we start losing our faith, what should we do? How can we get it back? When we are surrounded by hate, death, sin, illness, etc., how can we have faith?

Have you looked in the eyes of your loved one(s) lately? Your children, your husband or wife, your parents, your siblings, your friends? When is the last time you heard the words "I Love You", coming out of their mouth or yours? Have you experienced unconditional love? I have. I don't always need to hear it to know it is there. It's nice, of course, to hear the words, but they are only words. Think about when you were sad for whatever reason, and someone said, "Hey, you okay? You want to talk about it"? Think about the last time you were upset; a funeral, the ending of a relationship, a big move to another city, a lost job...did you have someone offer to help? Did anyone come and hug you or try to make you feel better with a joke or a nice comment? My friends, all of the above is love. We may not be thinking we are giving love to others by doing those simple things, but we are. We inspire each other so much without even knowing it. Isn't that beautiful?

I had a few talks with some good friends on faith. I have also been deep in discussion with a few friends on how to work through problems in your relationships. I always striven for my marriage to Rachel to be inspirational to others. I wanted people to look at how our relationship was and to try and emulate it. Well, of course, that is something now that can only be done by people reading about how we were; of course the folks who have known us throughout or lives and relationship can use their memories of our marriage for guidance. I learned some important things in life through my time on Earth with Rach. I learned that while walking forward you should never turn your back and look behind you, and you should never try and sprint ahead too far into the future. Live in the present and pace yourself. Don't try to hurry through the bad times by looking at the end of them; focus on making the bad times good. Time goes fast when we are having fun because we are not focusing on the end of them. Don't keep score. Don't count how many bad things you have done or what your partner has done. Wipe the board clean every day. God has done that for us. Watch this video on having regrets:

I know sometimes life can be hard. I of all people know that. But, we have so much around us to lean on. We have so much around us to inspire us. We have so many around to be there for us. Use each other when you need to. I'm here for every last one of you. I pray I can inspire each of you like you inspire me.
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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

If It's Hip, It's Here: The Naked Truth About Marc Jacobs' Skin Cancer Awareness Campaign: Who Posed Nude, Where Can You Buy The Shirts & Who Benefits

If It's Hip, It's Here: The Naked Truth About Marc Jacobs' Skin Cancer Awareness Campaign: Who Posed Nude, Where Can You Buy The Shirts & Who Benefits