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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Anonymous said...

You are a strong man who did an AMAZING job of caring for your wife...take care of you now.

Inês Sousa Almeida said...

Of course I remember you. I wouldn't forget.
And I saw your blog when you gave me the address.
I like it very much.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for you honest bare feelings. I am caring for my husband of 24 years while he battles lung cancer and you said things I have been feeling. It is helpful to me to know I am not alone. I treasure every day, and sometimes dread what's to come. I hope I have 1/2 the strength that you have shown.

Zoloft Birth Defects said...

melanoma is a MEAN disease. sad to hear about your loss.

DAVID HAAS said...

I have a question about your blog. Please email me!