About Me

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Watkinsville, Georgia, United States
We lost my beautiful wife of 20 years on 9/12/07. Lisa was my world she was my everything and now she is gone. We are learning to live without Lisa now. I say we because I am not alone. My children are stuck in this mess with me. These are my notes, my vent, my way of letting you all know that we are doing well (some days). This is for myself, my friends and my family that want to know how we are doing and what we are up to. Along the way I hope this might also help someone else who has been dealt a similar hand.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Wow!  That’s all I seem to find myself able to say on a regular basis here lately.  Just wow…!

Why, you ask…?  I’m not sure that I can answer that without writing a book but, you know me…, I’m going to try. 

I suppose in large part it’s just due to the sheer wonder I find in life itself here of late.  I wrote quite some time ago that, ever since I lost Lisa, I look at the world and almost everything in it with new eyes.  Well, like everything else in my life this continues to change and develop as time marches by.  These days I see much more joy in many more things.  It’s like everything or everyone I come into contact with is an immeasurable blessing that brings me some sort of happiness.  I just feel so content and EVERYTHING just seems to make me smile...  It’s like I seem to have this permanent and indestructible smile on my face that does nothing but make me feel better.  I also tend to think a lot of this giddiness is due to the fact I’m finally, once again, okay with ME.  I’m finally, without reservation or doubt, comfortable in my own skin and happy with whom I am, where I am, how I am.  That, my friends, is a truly a remarkable feeling…

Additionally, I’ve had an amazing past few weeks filled with some really great experiences.  I just recently discovered yoga and am enjoying it even if I do find my instructor to be quite lame.  I’ve spent an evening on the lake fishing with my son and a great group of men.  I’ve reconnected with some old friends and even had the opportunity to reconnect with a great guy that I haven’t seen since high school.  I’ve been inspired to step out of my comfort zone by seeing a younger friend step way out of hers.  Heck, I did some clothes shopping over the weekend and actually enjoyed it!  And you all know how much I’ve expressed my complete and utter dislike for any type of shopping!  I’ve even had a date or two in the last few weeks.  That’s right, get up off the floor; I said d-a-t-e… That’s all you’ll get on that however!  Yep, it’s been an amazing past few weeks and I have literally felt as though I’m on top of the world.
In thinking about this feeling I tend to believe that the reason such simple things get me so jazzed up and filled with excitement is due to the fact that I’ve experienced the other end of the spectrum.  I’ve been in the lowest of the valleys and endured the pure hell of becoming a widower that was madly in love with and connected to their spouse.  That hell, I think, is what has made me see the kindness in a stranger’s eye and the overwhelming joy of seeing a smile on another person’s face.  That hell, that I never allowed to totally break me or consume me completely, is what allows me to feel the overwhelming sensation of complete joy in life and love for others that I might not have felt before.  I tend to find a great deal of irony in the fact that from such anguish can come something so amazing.

I’ve probably got YOU saying “wow” by now! Yeah that’s some pretty deep and heavy stuff I know...  But that’s how I see it and this is my blog and I get to share as much or as little as I wish and this I felt compelled to share.

In closing, I have something I want to share with you.   I came across this awesome song by Tim McMorris recently that I feel expresses just how I felt about Lisa.  Every single time I play it that crazy big smile comes back on my face and I can think of nothing but her.  I hope it makes YOU smile and if you knew her, I hope it makes you think of her too!  Take a listen…

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bring It On

Five years…

That’s right, it’s been five years…

My life seems to have changed so very much over the last five years.  Maybe that’s due to the fact that it was so stable and seemingly predictable for the preceding twenty years.  Lisa worked, I worked and we raised two pretty awesome children.  We built homes, took vacations, cut grass, cleaned house, and raised kids.  It was normal, stable and predictable and I loved it like that.  Looking back, maybe it was a tad bit too stable and predictable.  A thought for another post at another time perhaps…

Yes, my life seems to have been changing and evolving at lighting speed over the past five years.  Of course not at first…  It seemed, at first, life was moving in painfully slow motion and it was all we could do to just get out of the bed and make it through the day and on to the next one.  As time has passed, however, life seems to have taken on speed and flown past me far too swiftly.

In the span of just a few hours our lives changed in the most drastic way.  And, life has continued to change for me…  In just the past five years I became a single dad with two children, one in middle school and one in high school.  To a single dad with one child in high school and a college student.  To a single dad with an empty nest and two college students.  I loathe that term by the way… Empty nest…  I’m going to have to come up with something witty to replace that term.  Yes, things have changed at warp speed and there were many times that I wished it would just slow down and stop changing so much.

Tonight, however, I don’t…  I don’t fear the changes anymore.  I embrace change and look forward to the next change, whatever it might be. Even though I miss her more than words can describe, tonight I look forward to the next five years and the years beyond.  I look forward to what life might bring me and pray that it wont take from me instead.  And, if by some chance it does decide to take rather than give, I will survive.  For I have survived.  We all have.  We will continue to.

So, bring it on Life.  Show me what you’ve got for me now…

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Erroneous Thoughts

What I thought was going to be a somewhat depressing summer is turning into just the opposite.  I must admit that I was not expecting such a positive and uplifting frame of mind as I prepared for my first summer alone.  I thought for sure, with Matt’s departure at the beginning of the summer, I was going to struggle and be alone far more than I would want.  However, I have found that to not be true. 

I am enjoying my alone time but still spending much time with friends.  I am very much enjoying my new freedom and independence.  I find comfort and am very much at peace with my quiet time alone.  Not that there is much of that though.  It seems as though I have filled my schedule with dinners, time for friends and a whole lot of exercise.  Possibly to the point that I almost wish I did have more “down time”.

However, it’s all up to me… If I chose to change it, then I can…  That is, in some way, very encouraging and uplifting for me.  I’m not so sure I know why, but I am sure that I like it.

All that said, there is still much to be missed in lacking companionship. In particular, close and intimate companionship.  Again, though, I have faith and concede that when it’s time that will happen.  God is in control, I have left that up to him…  I will, however, also continue to hope that he acts expeditiously on my behalf!

In the mean time, I will continue to enjoy the new and still being re-defined ME.  Living my Life (not necessarily) Without Lisa but maybe just rising above that…  Because, you see, it IS possible to still miss her beyond belief while still managing to enjoy life and living in a new or different way….

It is my hope that this, in some way, gives others some encouragement and belief that they too can rise above their loss.  Of course, if you’ve been coming here for very long, you know this is not a fast process and that it takes time.  Sometimes, more time than we would like it to…  We must just keep breathing and putting one foot in front of the other.  As we do this, things become clearer (most days) and the water under the bridge seems to flow a bit easier.

I’m off to Camp Rainbow next week so wish me luck!  I am excited about having the chance to participate in this wonderful event.  I just hope that I can keep up with all the other (much younger) staffers and the kids.  Maybe I should start taking some Advil and vitamins now…!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Beach Boys

Dowdy - Ben - Matt
If you read my previous post you may have noted that I joined a gym recently.  And, NO, I didn’t do this to meet women.  I can assure you that wasn’t the reason and in fact stay very much to myself during the process of working out.  Actually, I talk to almost nobody and typically have music blasting away in my ear-buds.  No, the primary reason I did this was to avoid time in an empty house more than anything else.  However, I’ve actually wanted to do something like this for more than ten years.  Unfortunately “life” just seemed to get in the way for one reason or another.  You know how it is, get up go to work, come home and then do it again.  I can tell you this though, this is the best thing that I have done for myself in a long time.  I am deriving so many benefits from this I felt compelled to come here and encourage my family, friends and other readers, to do the same.

There is a large degree of irony in this for me…  You see, when I was in college I was a runner.  I picked up the habit just after I got to school and got to the point where I was running up to eight to ten miles a day.  Once I graduated and got a job I got out of the habit but missed it.  It was about this time I met Lisa and we got married.  Shortly after we got married I tried to convince Lisa to start running with me.  She had no interest and I didn’t want to go without her.  The years started passing and not too long after Abby was born Lisa decided to start running.  By this time I was in no shape to run and felt that I just didn’t have time.  Of course, as many of you know, Lisa continued to run and right up to the end, ran on a daily basis.  Over the years, she continued to encourage me to get more exercise and I continued to avoid it.  She NEVER nagged me about it but I knew deep down in her heart she wished that I would do something.  So, I do find it rather ironic that here I am now almost five years after her departure walking, running, weight lifting and swimming laps.  Naturally, I wish I had done this a long time ago and deeply wish that we could be doing it together…

I have only been doing this for a few weeks and I already feel the positive effects.  I am sleeping a little better, I feel better and better about myself.  Rather than feeling tired I feel more revitalized and energized.  It has helped to reduce my anxiety and I have even dropped a few unwanted and unneeded pounds.  I think the hardest part was just getting started.  Now, I look forward to going to the gym and find myself disappointed when my schedule won’t allow me time for it.

And to think, I was just looking for an escape from an empty house…!

Matt - Myself
On another note, this past weekend was Friends & Family weekend at camp Jekyll.  I had been looking forward to the trip down to see Matt pretty much since he left.  It was great to see him even if he did act like he didn’t have time for me much of the weekend.  In talking with some of my friends with sons of the same age, this seems pretty typical.  They tend not to talk much and pretty well seem to have the attitude that we parents don’t even exist.

Although this was rather frustrating, I tried to be tolerant of this for most of the weekend.  After all, I tend to believe that they don’t even realize they are doing this.  I was just about at my wits end when I was finally able to corner Matt and have him to myself for an hour or so.  Toward the end of this time, Matt’s roommate, Dowdy, came back to the room with a rather perturbed look on his face.  When I asked him what was bothering him he replied that he had just got a chewed out by his parents for not spending enough time with the family for the last day or so.  I must admit, I laughed out loud…

See Oats At Sundown
It was also really great to get back to the beach.  It’s been a couple of years since we hit the coast and, while I do prefer the Gulf to the Atlantic either one can be rather enjoyable.  I didn’t realize just how much I missed the feeling of being on a beach.  There’s just something wonderful about all that sand, sun, surf and fresh ocean air.  While, I did spend a fair amount time by myself I enjoyed it so much I may just have to drive back down there again this coming weekend.  If I do, I may just have to swing by and see Matt so I can ignore him and act like I don’t have a lot of time for him!  …Just for a little while!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

JTE's Question

What am I doing now?
That’s an excellent question.  I think more than anything I’m enjoying being ME.  You know…, just enjoying being responsible for just me.  There is a certain degree of pleasure in knowing that I can do what I want, when I want to.  I can come and go pretty much without a care in the world.  I don’t feel pressured to rush out of the office in the afternoon because I feel like I need to fulfill some parental responsibility of some kind at home.  It’s hard to explain…  I guess what I’m saying is, I feel like I just finished running a four and a half year marathon and now I’m resting and catching my breath.  That’s about the best way I can think of to explain it.  Of course, while I’m enjoying this respite from parenting, I’m also staying busy and occupied so that the quiet of my now empty house doesn’t consume me with negative feelings.
I’ve join a gym recently.  This gives me a good reason to get out of the house several nights each week.  Not to mention, it’s good for me and probably way past due.  Additionally, I have been working on a really big project that I’ve been wanting to tackle for some time now.  I’m installing a brand new four-board fence along my road frontage.  I’ve been working on it for over a month now and I’m only about half way finished.  With warmer days coming on, I may have to pull of this project until we get some cooler weather this fall.
I’ve also been working in a new direction for me…  As I mentioned in my previous post “someday” is here now and I find myself looking for ways to fill yet another void in my life with the kids both out of the house.  Now don’t get me wrong… It’s not like I don’t have a full-time job and plenty to keep me busy here on my property.  However, I do work a four-day schedule which gives me a three-day weekend most of the year.  That three-day weekend has definitely been a blessing while acting as a single father over the last four and a half years.  It has allowed me the time to take care of things that most folks are forced to deal with over a two-day weekend.  That being said, I long for more than the gym and working on my property…
For that reason, I have been exploring volunteer opportunities that interest me.  Of course, as with most things in my life, I am very picky about where I am willing to donate my time, talents or finances.  And due to that I have found very few of these opportunities.  I have found one, however, that I have agreed to be a part of next month and it’s called Camp Rainbow.
Camp Rainbow is a week-long camp that is dedicated to serving children ages 4 to 16 with cancer or rare blood disorders.  This camp, for many of the kids, is the only time they are not with their parents and gives them and the parents a much needed break from the rigors of their medical conditions.  It also gives them the opportunity to just be kids for six days.  They get to participate in activities that many of them have never had the chance to participate in.  There is horseback riding, swimming, archery, nature trails, a climbing wall and ropes course and much more.  It’s just like a normal summer camp for kids but with all the medical staff and support that these particular kids need.
Of course, I have always enjoyed working with kids and there is nothing  I like better than being outside.  So this seems to be a perfect fit for me and I’m looking forward to the week and what it brings.  And, while I am excited to be involved in this, I do have my guard up since I can’t help but think that I will more than likely experience some very heart wrenching moments with these children.  Keep in mind that most of these kids have terminal illnesses.
If you would like to know more about Camp Rainbow, check out the link that I have included.  There is much more information there and if you’re interested in supporting this program there is also information concerning making a donation.
I’ll try to be sure and post an update after camp.
There you have it… That’s what I’ve been up to.  …bet you thought I was going to talk about dating…:)
P.S. – Thanks for the kind comments!  It’s always nice to know that you have been missed.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

In The Long Run

I know, it’s been a while…

I’ve actually tried to stay away from here on purpose.  I suppose for a number of reasons but in part to help me move forward in some ways.  Of course, the past six months or so have also been freakishly busy for me.

We, Matt and I, have been preparing for college and his departure tomorrow.  That’s right, in fact he leaves in the morning.  Last weekend was graduation and he leaves in the morning to spend the summer working as a 4-H camp counselor at the beach.  He’s very excited to be getting out on his own and extremely stoked about getting to spend the entire summer at the beach.  Since it’s about a six hour drive from here, he’s not planning on coming home on the weekends.  Instead, he’ll spend the weekends at the camp fishing, swimming, surfing and working crab traps.  Not a bad way to spend the summer…  He’ll be back in about eight weeks and home for only a couple of weeks before he’s off to college in South Georgia.

With that I’ve reached the goal I set for myself five years ago, to finish the job that Lisa and I started.  Naturally, I’m smart enough to know that you’re really never finished with being a parent but my goal was to get them both through high school and out into the world on their own.  Reaching this goal IS rather bittersweet however.  While I’m really ready for some ME time, really ready... I’m really going to miss my boy.  I suppose my only real issue is that while I had a short-term five-year plan, I didn’t have a plan for after that and “after that” is here now.

So what now?  That’s an excellent question and I’m not really sure…  I’m not too worried about it however.  I have faith that things will work out in the long run and I have absolutely no doubt that I will eventually figure out what’s next in my Life Without Lisa.

Who knows, maybe I’ll start writing on a regular basis again…

Monday, September 12, 2011

Saved At A Funeral

Today marks four years...

And, things seem so much different these days.  I don’t feel the date weighing me down or looming over me anymore.  I feel more alive than I have in four years OR at least a whole lot less dead than I felt over the last four years.  I feel as though I can breathe again…  The kids and I have survived.  It hasn’t always been pretty and it was never very easy but we have made it this far.

I find myself looking to the future more these days.  Looking toward days filled with joy and excitement.  I look forward to going to the beach once again or driving to the mountains again.  I look forward to loving and being loved again.  I look forward to all those things that will and can be.  I look forward to sharing my life and time with someone again.  While I may never get that chance just the fact that it is possible gives me great joy.

While, it’s true that I have experienced much anguish and pain from Lisa’s loss, I have seen good come from it too.  Her loss has change many and all of those for the better.  None, more than myself I would say.  I like to think that I have become a better father and a better person in total.  Lisa touched many in life and in death.  On Sunday, Pastor Tony mentioned Lisa in his sermon.  He spoke about how even within great tragedy comes hope and good.  He told a story of a woman whom his wife, Trish, knows.  This woman told Trish how she had attended Lisa’s memorial service and right there in the service received Christ into her life.  Saved at a funeral…  Who would have thought it…

We still miss her terribly and the hole she left in our lives may never be filled.  However, the hole in our hearts has slowly healed and will continue to do so.  We couldn’t have gotten this far without the support and love of our family and friends.  Even so, I continue to be amazed at our resilience and our power to continue in our Life Without Lisa.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Moving Forward

Barry Corbin

“All the time ya spend trying to get back what’s been took from ya more is going out the door…” Barry Corbin – No Country For Old Men

That’s it… That’s all I’ve got for you but I think that’s a lot in of its self… 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Take #2

Here we go again…

Baby Girl began the process of moving out to her new apartment yesterday.

Abby has been looking forward to this for some time now.  In fact I’m pretty she’s been looking forward to this since about two days after she moved back home last summer.  Who could blame her however...  I know how tuff it is to move back home after you’ve been out on your own for a while.  Heck, I had to do the same thing once I finished college.  It’s been a learning and growing process for both of us though.  I think this time, however, she is better equipped and more prepared than she was last time.

I really don’t think having her home has been THAT difficult on either one of us when I think about it.  Half the time I was not even aware she was home.  Okay, half the time she WASN’T even home.  Regardless, I’m happy and proud for her.  She has the same streak of independence that her mother exhibited.   That independent streak is what drives her forward.  She wants to be independent and free.  She wants very much to know that she can exist on her own without need from anyone.  Anyone including her old dad… 

And, little does she realize we actually both share the same goals and objectives.  We’ve been working toward the same end, all be it possibly for differing reasons.  Because, as a dad, that’s what I’ve wanted for her all along…  That independence and ability to walk her own path, in her own way and in her own time.

Don’t tell her though…  If she realizes that she’s played right into my hand she may change her mind!

But if you do talk to her… Be sure to tell her that she’s always welcome home and that she can call her old dad for a shoulder to cry on anytime she needs it.

I’ll keep a light on for you Baby Girl.

Monday, July 18, 2011

My Direction?

Matt’s been gone for three weeks now and I have missed him something fierce.  I made the trip down this weekend and visited him at the VSU campus.  While talking to him I asked him if he was about ready to come home.  His answer was a resounding NO.  What the heck…!?!?  AND, he was emphatic about it and didn’t stutter when he said it.

It felt like a knife to the heart and just as I was about to take it personal, he elaborated on his answer.  He explained how he was ready to get out of Oconee county and start living a new life.  He is ready for a new place new people.  He explained that it was not about home or me but about just getting out of here in general.

I suppose that kind of woke me up to the fact that he would be leaving me soon.  Probably sooner than I would like but not soon enough for him.  It made me think about “what am I going to do with myself when he goes”.  It made me think about the fact I need to start thinking about myself a little bit more and doing things for myself more often.  Some of my friends also been nudging me in this direction and encouraging me start thinking along these lines.

I’m not complaining, I’m actually happy that this has struck me now rather than later.  I would hate to think that I would be standing there in the driveway as he drove off to school next year and then not know what to do.  So, now I just need to start figuring out what am I going to do.  Where am I going to go?  Who, if anyone, will I be with?  What will occupy my life and time?

These are not new thoughts.  I have thought about this many times before.  However, today, this time, it’s right around the corner.  It’s not years off in the future anymore.  It’s just a matter of months away.  It’s time to take a stand… I need to figure this all out and start taking some action that will prevent me from being one of those parents that constantly wines about how they miss their kids and how they never call and come home.  It’s time for me to get a life and let them take on and live theirs.

Easy to say, very easy to say…