Prompt Seven: Write About a Lesson You Learned or an Insight you Gained At the Time, I felt/thought/acted…Now I understand/admit that…

Most of us search our entire lives searching for love, our partner, the person we will share life with and in many if not most cases raise a family with. I thought I had found that in 2001.

All of us have decisions in life that change the course of our life. These are usually big decisions. Where we go to college, where we decide to live, the kind of work we do and who we decide to marry.

Getting there can often involve smaller decisions. Dating was always extremely difficult for me. The advent of the internet gave me far more confidence to date.

In January of 2001 I sat at my computer with my AOL instant messenger box open debating whether or not to send an instant message to a woman. I had grown tired of dating in general and internet dating specifically. I thought what do I have to lose. I sent the message and there was an instant connection.

We messaged for a few days before we spoke on the phone. It would be about two weeks before our first date. I decided to go out on the date with the goal of having fun and not worrying about the future.

My more relaxed attitude probably had a lot to do with the success of the date. We dated for two years and got engaged on the second anniversary of our first date.

We were married for two and a half more years before our first child was born. We went through a lot to get there. She had been sick beginning about eight months into our relationship.

The various illnesses would have changed most people and made them more appreciative of life. It didn’t seem to do either for both us. Ours was the epitome of a love hate relationship.

None of those illnesses compared to what was to come years later.She contacted a life threatening illness. The prospect of losing her made all the fights, arguments and disagreements seem pointless. I cried myself to sleep every night for two months.

One argument that preceded her illness by a month or two seemed particularly pointless.  As we were having a beautiful dinner outside in the summer I had forgotten to boil the corn to go with dinner.

The insight I gained from her illness is that almost all of our of arguments, disagreements and dissension seemed so trivial. Many of us get caught up in the minutiae of everyday life. What class your kids might take, whose family are you going to spend the holidays with or what are you going to eat for dinner.

When she got sick it made everything else feel pointless. In spite of our contentious marriage, I wanted to show her despite her illness I still loved her and hoped we could put the past behind us.

I learned a lot from a heartbreaking situation. Her illness clarified my love for her. More than anything I wanted to show her how much I loved her.

We were not always nice to each other. She would often call me names, particularly in disagreements with her family. I compounded it by teasing her early in the relationship and occasionally saying things about her family that I could have chosen different words for.

It took an inconceivable tragedy for me to realize how fragile life is. The lesson I learned and insight I gained is how fragile love is. What truly is love? How do we nurture a relationship? How do you put your relationship with your spouse/partner first while still keeping those in your life important.

One of the lessons I learned through all this is that the family you create together needs to come first. She would often say in her arguments “my family” “her family” my answer was always what about our family?

The insight I gained is that the importance of a living will, will and life insurance cannot be understated always have a plan in case you cannot speak for yourself.

 

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Prompt Five: Write About the Natural Disaster Experience You Had, Never Had and/or Wish You’d Had

The worst natural disasters I’ve ever been involved in were floods a couple of times to two different houses.

The damage was between $10,000 and $15,000 combined from the two floods. Dealing with flooding was difficult. A lot of personal mementos and things that were close had to been thrown out. Some can be replaced while others were heirlooms that are irreplaceable.

On the whole, a flood in the basement that did not affect the rest of the house is minimal. Seeing earthquakes on the west coast and others parts of the world, the wildfires that took place in the Smoky Mountains, tornadoes that happen every year throughout the midwest and southeast, Hurricanes that have impacted the Gulf and East Coast are far greater natural disasters than a flood in the basement of one’s residence.

I have avoided the aforementioned natural disasters a few times. While on vacation in the Bahamas a Hurricane hit the western part of the Caribbean. The cruise ships bound for the East Coast of Mexico and other parts of the western Caribbean were diverted to Nassau. The ships docked in Nassau for a few days before they were on their way after the Hurricane passed.

My other near brush with a natural disaster came when I left a trip to Los Angeles a day before an Earthquake happened. It was a bit unnerving, but thankfully it was not a major one and it had little effect on Los Angeles.