Saturday, November 11, 2017

"No More I Love Yous"

November 1st marked the one year anniversary of leaving.

So much has happened.

So much has changed.

So much of myself is being rewired, reprogrammed, and rewritten.

I closed on Karla's house the last week of July.  I'm now officially a homeowner.

I've thrown myself back into my workaholic ways.  I started back at the Market in August after a 6 month hiatus.  I've stopped scheduling days off.  I work to keep my mind focused and to keep myself out of trouble.

Emily switched schools this year and is adjusting to being a 7th grader at a normal public school pretty well.  I think she's happier.  Her father and I are too.

Xander started speech therapy in a group setting with 3 other kids in August.  He goes for an hour and a half every Tuesday and Thursday.  This has helped tremendously in easing my worries over my non-verbal child.  He's smart as a whip, and is definitely understanding everything we say to him. He knows his body parts, letters - upper & lower case, can identify colors, animals and the sounds they make.  All age appropriate milestones.  He just won't physically open his mouth to say words.

- Which is the perfect segue I needed to delve into why I chose these particular song lyrics as the title to this blog entry.

"No more I love yous..."

My daughter is almost 13...  the dreaded "Teen" stage...  She's been going through, what I like to call the "Turdy Tween" stage for a couple of years now.  - Mild attitude.  - Some arguing and talking back.  - Stomping off to her bedroom and slamming doors in my face.  - But overall, she's always been - and still is - a very good kid.

This transition has been hard on me.  More so than I've let on.

She used to look at me like I was a total ROCKSTAR.

THE coolest Mom on the planet.

- Now she's embarrassed to be seen with me.  She pulls away when I try to love on her or even when I just want to touch her arm or pet her back.  She never tells me she loves me anymore unless I tell her first.  She doesn't need me to tuck her in at night anymore.  She doesn't need me to fix her hair or kiss her boo-boos away anymore.  It completely sucks.  Ha.  Seriously THE worst.

I jokingly said a few years ago, right after Xander was born, that it was perfect timing.  Xander would be super sweet, cuddly, affectionate, and tell me all the wonderful things Emily used to say to me by the time she hit the "Turdy Tween" stage.  She was almost 9 years old when Xander was born, by the way.

Xander will be 4 in December.  The only words I've actually heard him say with his mouth open and enunciating is "Clock", "Pop", "Cheese" and "Taki" - yes, as in Taki's - those awful, spicy chip-rod-things all the kids are obsessed with these days.  He is quite literally my own personal "Taki Monster".

I have yet to hear him say "Mommy".

I've never heard him say, "Mommy, I love you so much."

- Or "Mommy, you're so beautiful."

- Or "Thank you, Mommy."

He's affectionate, but he's also a high-energy 3 year old toddler boy who thinks his mom is his personal jungle gym.  So I get climbed on, jumped on and launched off of more than I'm getting snuggles and cuddles these days.

It's hard.

Most days, I'm okay.

Some days I am not.

- Then mix a freaking divorce into all of that...

- And "TADAAAAH"!

- You get ME!

Me = An occasional lonely, starved for affection, needy of reassurances, workaholic, mother of 2 (4 if you count my dogs as children).

Deep Breaths, Sylvia.. 

- Just remember what Bob Marley sings to you every morning when your alarm goes off: 

"Don't worry.  Every little thing's going to be all right."

Friday, July 21, 2017

"Dust yourself off and try again..."

Just sliding through your newsfeed to give everyone a life update since it's been awhile.

Plus this: Pity Party for 1  - I know, I know.  I should rise above it, but I just can't today.  Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

- Most everyone knows I've left my marriage back in November.

I moved into my best friend's house as a sort of "buffering period" so I could have some time to figure things out.

The whole process of separating was a constant up and down struggle for me.  I was never 100% sure that I was making the right decision for myself and for my kids.

I didn't realize it until recently, but I unintentionally shifted my life into neutral and just idled there for several months - ultimately waiting for my husband to either pull me back in or give me that last push away.

After the holidays, we did some counseling.  A handful of sessions - then we quit.  We both just felt like we were done at that point.

We spent a few months apart.

We both "dated" other people.

- And I was always extremely open and honest about my unsure feelings regarding my divorce.

I questioned myself every single day.

- Was I giving him a fair chance?  - Did I, in fact, fight as hard as I thought I had during the past 3 years leading up to me leaving?  - Was this really what would make me happier in the long run?

April 9th - Our wedding anniversary.
We decided to have dinner together - I think we both cried and agreed to give it one more go.

We still thought it best to live separately for the time being.  We broke things off with the people we were seeing.  We scheduled more marriage counseling sessions.

I tried to be more attentive and supportive of his interests.  I attended his softball games.  I tried to be more affectionate. 

I communicated 2 things he could do that would make me feel like he was serious about us coming back home.  1: To find a job with a schedule that was conducive to supporting his family financially as well as emotionally in trying to mend a broken marriage - because, let's be real, driving overnight for Lyft wasn't going to do that. - and 2: Finally fixing Emily's room from the termite damage that had occurred 2 YEARS ago.

Emily picked out the paint color for her walls at his request.  We even purchased that paint.

- But in a months time, nothing had been repaired or painted in Em's room, nor was any effort made to find a different job.

May 14th - Mother's Day.
I spent my mother's day wrangling our 3 year old at the ball park in the hot sun watching his dad play softball.  Then Emily & I drove over to his house to meet up with him and Xander after the ballgame...  but he wasn't there...  he was at the grocery store getting me, his mom and his grandmother all the exact same flowers.  - After he arrived with said flowers, I wrangled up vases to put his mom's and grandma's flowers into instead of the grocery store cellophane.  We filled out Mother's Days cards for everyone then drove over to his parents house.  We spent - literally 10 minutes with his mom and 15 minutes with his grandma before they both retreated to their own perspective rooms of the house.

- So I'm spending my Mother's Day at his parent's house - not even with his mom or grandmother - watching hockey (which I care nothing about) - and eating Papa John's pizza because that's what my father-in-law wanted to do for dinner.  Am I wrong for feeling like he could have put in a little more effort, especially since he supposedly wanted us to come home?  - Granted, he did go out with the kids and have them pick out a gift for me from them, but I guess I was just dumbfounded that not once did he ask me what I wanted to do for Mother's Day. 

... I think that's when I knew nothing was going to change...

- BUT! - we still went to four more counseling sessions after Mother's day.  Two that were individual sessions with out therapist and then 2 that were together.  

Needless to say, that last session on May 30th was it for me.

He showed up 20 minutes late to a therapy appointment that we were paying $70 an hour for, BUT he had time to stop off at at a gas station on the way to buy a pop tart and a Red Bull.

I think every single one of my doubts I had about leaving my husband were quickly shooed away in that last session.  I even suspect that our therapist intentionally gave me the closure I was so desperately seeking by asking some of the questions he asked.  I left there with so much peace.

I tried.  Even though I was the one to leave, I still continued to try after I left.  - And I tried even more when we decided to give it one last push to save it.  I KNOW I tried. 

I wanted to see some effort.  I wanted to see some fight.  - But he never brought the fight - he even said he didn't feel like he needed to because we made a promise to each other when we got married...  So apparently vows are a free pass to be a sucky spouse.  

Anyhow, after all that, I finally felt ready to move forward.

And I did...  I am...  moving forward... one day at a time.

That first weekend in June, Karla and I took a girls trip to Chicago to see U2 again.  It was a much-needed trip and so good for us both.  Karla is such a trooper and has been in a crazy state of transition as well.  Her mom's health has been declining fast.  She made the decision to leave her job, move in with her parents to help care for her mom and spend as much time with her as possible - which brings me to my next update.

The House.
Karla needed to sell her house.
I needed a house.
I was already living in said house.
So I decided to try to buy her house.

I took a week and a half vacation to Panama City with the kids in June before throwing myself head first into the home buying process.

This last month has been one of extreme highs and very extreme lows.

Things were all set to go with the loan process, then all of the sudden - they weren't.

I was scrambling to find a solution to still make it all work within the timeline we had set so that I wouldn't fudge up anything for Karla's sake - but for about 2 weeks, I thought for sure I wasn't going to be able to get this house.

During that time of being completely overwhelmed and uber-depressed over losing the house, we incurred a minor plumbing issue which resulted in being without water for several days.  - Then a couple of days later, the air conditioning stopped working due to a malfunction in the thermostat control panel and we were without air over that weekend.

Ha!  Talk about bad luck. 

Somewhere in there, July 4th rolled around.  Karla came over for an impromptu girls night so we could try to not be dumpy and depressed over the house stuff and her mom's health for the night.

During a break from our movie marathon, my mom called to talk to me about my Dear Sweet Knucklehead of a Nephew ( I say that with love!).  - And after the discussion turned from him to me, I finally told her that Alan and I had separated and that I was in the middle of trying to buy a house but was having difficulty due to being self-employed.  We chatted a little while longer about the other details of my life and more about my nephew and then left it at that.

The conversation went a lot better than I had anticipated.  She was supportive and understanding of my decision to leave my marriage and didn't really say anything negative like I thought she would.

The next day she called and offered to co-sign on the house with me.

So that's where we are at.

I think the last of the official paperwork will be sent in and received on Monday and then we are set to close on the house next Friday.

Praise Jesus.  I'm giving God alllllll the glory.

It's been a crazy, crazy time of transition...  8 months of constant ups and downs.

But I'm so grateful for all the support, help, and prayers everyone has offered up.  I truly am blessed.


- And to just piggy-back on my BFF's blog post from yesterday... a few things we're both trying really hard to learn and embrace are:
- to worry less.
- to stop trying to control every situation in our lives because ultimately we have little to no control over them anyway.
- to put the phones, tablets and ipods down, to unplug and just be present in the moments you find yourself in and be grateful for those experiences - good or bad - because those experiences will shape us into stronger human beings.
- and to just love ourselves as we are.

- So that's what I'm doing...
- I'm trying to be vigilant about being grateful for everything I have and all the opportunities for growth that keep coming my way.
- I'm fighting to be more confident in knowing and BELIEVING that God's plan is way, way bigger than my plans.
- I'm trying to be more present, and to hug my loved ones tight, and tell them I love them every single night (even when I'm mad at them).
- And I'm trying my hardest to continue to be a positive, infectious force every single day I am alive, no matter what kind of curve balls life decides to throw at me.

I tried.  I fought.  I lost.  - But I survived... and I will try again.  <3 br="">

Thursday, February 16, 2017

"I try to make the worse seem better..."

Here's another one for transparency...

I've been in a very dark, dark place.

I cry myself to sleep every single night over my marriage failing.

I'm hurt beyond any of my own words can express and I am just so angry.

I don't completely understand why though.

I chose to leave.

Ironically - for my happiness.

But did I really want this?

Did I want to tear my family apart?  No.

Did I want to leave our home and every security I had?  No.

Did I want to feel these awful feelings toward my husband?  No.

Did I want this - divorce - to ultimately be the end result?  No.

Truthfully, by my leaving I wanted that to be a catalyst for my husband to step the hell up and finally really hear what I had been saying for the 3 years prior.

I wanted him to fight for me...  for our family.

I wanted him to SHOW me he was everything I needed and wanted in a marriage.

I wanted him to step up and be the PARTNER I needed in my life for the past 6 years.

But instead of changes for our life together, he made excessive changes to the life he was making without me.

I was given excuse after excuse.

I was made to feel like a lying, cheating whore in our last counseling session.

And finally, this week, I was the recipient of his proverbial "truth bomb" implying that my vagina was the reason for our lackluster sex life.

Needless to say, I'm in shock.

I don't know how to feel or how to react.

I don't know this person at all anymore and wonder if I even really did in the first place.

I've been crying non-stop since Monday.

Since I left in November, almost every night has been spent in my room crying... Either alone or on the phone to a select few of my friends.  Josh being one of those few.

- So let me to quickly address the Josh "situation"... Not that I feel I need to justify anything to anyone, but it's been a sore spot in regards to my marriage for a couple of months now.

I did not leave my marriage because of or for anyone else.

Josh and I have been extremely close for over 20 years.

He was by my side through some of the most horrible experiences of my life, holding my hand, reassuring me that everything was going to be okay.

Our friendship has always been priority.

Our kids' feelings about the transpiring situation between us is and always will be top priority to us both.

Furthermore, regardless of any feelings that have resurfaced or developed, my happiness has always been his number one priority.

- He's been the one encouraging my desires to pursue marriage counseling and cheering on my attempts at repairing my marriage because he knows me well enough to know that I won't ever be happy with myself - or anyone else for that matter - if I don't do everything in my power to fix what I felt I needed to fix.

He's the one listening to me sob and cry uncontrollably every night over my husband and my failing marriage.

If that's not a good friend, I don't know what is.  - And I know for a fact, regardless of any feelings that exist beyond friendship, his actions would be steadfast and exactly the same as they have always been.

That's Josh.

He's one of my best friends.

We want to do everything the right way for the sake of our kids - and for my own sanity's sake...

Meaning:

I want to know in my heart that I did everything I could have done to save my marriage.

I want to know that I left for all the right reasons.

I want to show my kids that I will fight for my happiness - even if that means we have to sacrifice certain comforts in life temporarily.

I want to be able to stand on my own two feet, provide a home for my kids and be okay on my own - instead of jumping from one unhealthy, unfulfilling living situation with a man into another out of convenience or necessity.

- All that to say, I'm still in a dark place emotionally.

My emotions are erratic and completely all over the place.

I've thought and considered things I never thought I would ever think.

I don't recognize the person staring back at me.

I'm angry as hell and full of so much hate and it's absolutely sucking the life out of me.

All I can do consistently right now is sleep and cry...  I can pull myself together for work most days, but the first time someone asks me about my personal life, the facade fades and I crumble.

My kids see me cry everyday.

My daughter is so strong.  I'm so very grateful for her.  When she sees me crying, she swoops in to grab her brother and then they start laughing together; and for a brief moment, the tears stop, my heart swells and I'm able to laugh through the tears.

Family.
Quality Time.
Laughter.
Friendship.
Communication.
Partnership.
Love.
Ambition.
Passion.

Those are all priorities in my life.  It's what I want.

I'm not there yet... but I will get there eventually.

I just keep telling myself this every single night:
 
Give it to God and go to sleep...

<3 p=""><3 br="">

Monday, February 13, 2017

"No Better You than the You that You Are..."

Tonight broke me.

- Heartbroken doesn't quite cover it.

I honestly can't remember the last time I've cried this hard and for this long. It's been cathartic, but completely exhausting at the same time.

I'm giving myself the rest of tonight to purge these feelings, emotions, and the negative energy - to mourn the loss of a relationship that I now know, shouldn't have ever happened in the first place.

You can't complete a puzzle that you weren't given all the pieces to.  I find a whole lot of peace in that.  I was ill-prepared for the fight and tried so hard to fix something that I never could have fixed.

One more night.  A few more hours.  - To cry, to sob uncontrollably, to scream and yell at myself.  - Then I'm officially letting it all go.  I'm going to give it to God and go to sleep.

Thankful for His grace and that tomorrow is a new day.

Praying for peace, healing and guidance.

Keep breathing...  and just keep moving forward, Sylvia...  one foot at a time.

Monday, January 2, 2017

"So this is the New Year..."

New Years Eve 2016 came and went.

I had big plans, but they were sidelined by a call from my soon-to-be-ex-husband. 

He called me to tell me that he indeed wanted to divorce...  not even 24 hours from a phone conversation we shared where he had "so much hope for us and our future".  I was taken aback and very surprised by his sudden change of heart. 

I decided to forego my plans and just lay low.  Process everything.  Clear my head.

My New Years was quiet and uneventful.  I binged watched movies and cried a lot.

I didn't plan to make any resolutions...  Hell, I think I just wanted to survive the holidays.

Now that I'm on the other side, I still can't say I have any specific resolutions for 2017.

I do have a lot of changes I'd like to incorporate into my everyday life going forward though...

Some of those being:

- To take it one day at a time.
- To be more present during my time with family and friends.
- To keep moving forward.
- To keep pushing myself towards my health and fitness goals.
- To find a church home.
- To find a new home for my kids, my dogs and myself.
- To continue to learn, grow and be the best me I can be each day.
- To never lose faith.
- To keep hoping for the best.
- To always love without fear.
- Believe and trust there's good in everyone.
- Keep forgiving even if they never apologize.
- Continue to laugh so hard till I start snorting and my face hurts.
- Keep smiling through the tears.
- Keep breathing through the hard days.
- Don't look back in anger or with regret.
- And just keep putting one foot in front of the other each and every single day.

Happy New Year, Friends.  Here's to new beginnings and bright futures.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Perspective

There are two sides to every story...  and my side has been fairly quiet in comparison to the other.

I left the home I shared with my husband in early November.  I didn't take everything I had...  I left several of my belongings and my dogs in hopes that some time apart would clear my head and help me solidify my decisions to make the separation permanent or to want to try harder to save my marriage.

Only a handful of you know that I spent much of the last six years of my life doing just that...  trying to save my marriage.  I realized early on that there were issues that needed to be addressed and worked on together as a team...  as a partnership...  yet, those issues were never met with a sincere desire to fix anything.

In the past 3 years, I mentioned "divorce" to my husband on 3 different occasions...  all 3 times were about a year's time in between.  Each time, I had talked myself down from the cliff and just resided to try harder.

Last year, in August, I was starting to feel that urge to run again...  but instead of lashing out or trying to run, I pushed myself harder into my marriage.  I tried to spice things up in and out of the bedroom.  I asked my husband constantly what I could do better.  I pleaded to see a sex therapist and do some marriage counseling...  all my efforts were thwarted and our issues were downplayed into something smaller than they really were.

I think around November or December of last year was when I just quit fighting...  I didn't realize it at the time, I just quietly allowed myself to melt away into the background of our mundane life together.

I had resorted to Craigslist to entertain the idea of having an affair.  I made friends with a few random men for flirtatious banter and attention via text messages.  - But if it got to the point where there was an expectation of sex, I would shut that down immediately by blocking phone numbers and deleting email accounts.  I didn't want to be "that girl" who cheated on her husband.  I just wanted the attention and conversation I wasn't getting at home. 

Believe me, I realize how awful this sounds...  but in all fairness, and for the sake of being transparent, I wanted to share my shortcomings and failures as a wife as well.  I have shared all this information with my husband already, so he's not finding anything new out via my online blog.    

Anyhow...

I worked like crazy, then I'd come home, cook dinner, love on my kiddos and dogs and then spend the rest of the evening in a separate room of the house from my husband.

This had become our normal day to day routine.  Some days he'd even leave right when I'd walk in the door or vice versa.

I'd leave for out of town work for several days -- we would barely speak on the phone during my time away.  I'd come home and most times he wouldn't even get off the couch to come greet me after my return.

My husband had become my roommate and live-in babysitter...  except he wouldn't cook or plan dinners... that was always my responsibility.  In the 6 years we were married, I can probably count on both hands how many times he actually cooked dinner.  Even on the days where I worked 15+ hours...  I'd come home exhausted and the first words out of his mouth would be "What do YOU want to do for dinner?"  This became a very big point of contention in our relationship.

- But alas, I digress...

We had become roommates.

He made no effort to date me or spend time with me.  The only time he'd ask his parents to watch Xander was when I was out of town so he could go do things.  - Which is funny now, because in the last 2 months, Xander has spent more time with my in-laws than he has his ENTIRE life.


- But, again, I digress...

This August, I got tired of waiting around for my husband to want to hang out with me, so I started doing things that I liked doing.  I started going to get massages.  I started going to the gym and working out.  I started getting regular manis and pedis.  I figured if he didn't want to spend time with me, I'd fill my time with things I wanted to do and spend my limited free time with friends that did want to spend time with me.

I think the real wake up call for me came when a long-time friend visited in September.  This friend has known me for over 20 years.  - After a day or two of being at my house he said, "Your husband doesn't hang out with you."  It was almost more of a question than a statement.   -- And my immediate rebuttal was, "Yeah, I know, but it works for us."

Wait...  What?

Let that sink in a minute...

When did I become THAT girl?

I've always been one to be super affectionate and cuddly.  I've always been one who needed lots of attention and reciprocated that back to my partners.  I've always been one to talk and share my deepest thoughts, feelings, dreams and aspirations with the person I chose to share my life with.

- But I haven't been that girl with my husband. - Like, not at all.  - Why not?

That changed everything for me.

Over the next month, I mentioned that to my husband.  I told him on several occasions that I felt like we never spent any time together, that he didn't like to do anything I liked to do, that he didn't talk to me like he talked to other people.  I suggested things to do with my husband.  Activities we could do together.  Asked if he needed time to go out with his friends. - And even the day before I left to go out of town for a week for my nephew's graduation from basic training, I mentioned again the need to go to marriage counseling and my request was met with a simple "What for?"

So I left town for a week...  and found the only reason I wanted to come home was to see my kids and my dogs.  I didn't miss my husband at all. 

The very next day was when all of this officially started.  - 2 weeks later, I moved out.  - And now we're here.

I think we're both at the point now where we're done.

There's no hope for us getting back together.

Too many proverbial plates have been shattered.

Too many "I'm sorry, I should have / could have handled that better"s have been tossed about.

 It is done.

He's spending time with his friends again.  He's writing music again.  He's working out everyday again.  He's doing all the things I encouraged him to do while we were married...  it only took me leaving and tearing my family apart to make him a better man for the next girl who comes along. - So to that future next girl: "You're welcome."

I tried.  God knows I tried.  I tried until I was completely depleted, desolate and numb.

When I was done, he finally decided he was ready to try.  - Too little too late, I suppose.

When my actions weren't what he wanted or expected in response to his recent "changes" he was making "for me" - he'd act erratically by hacking into my personal email accounts, reading messages and conjuring up "proof" of what he wanted or needed to hear from those messages and then shared it with MY friends to make me out to be the villain that he needed me to be.  I guess it's easier to believe I left him for some reason other than his shortcomings as a husband.  He unleashed unkind and hurtful words.  He did blatantly disrespectful things like inviting an ex-girlfriend who had been a point of contention early on in our relationship to my son's birthday party.

All these things he did and then just nonchalantly apologized for later.

So I call "Bullshit"... 

You can throw a plate against the wall and watch it shatter.  You can then apologize to the plate but that doesn't fix it.  It's still shattered.

That's how I currently feel in regards to my marriage.

It's shattered.

I left for me.  I left for my happiness.  I left for my kids' happiness.

I left because my children deserve to see what real love looks like - what a true partnership is supposed to look like - for them to not just accept that a marriage of convenience is normal.

I left for all the right reasons.  I didn't leave for or because of anyone else.

- Ironically, I left to achieve happiness, but I haven't felt this much sadness in a very long time.

Even though it was ultimately my choice to leave, it doesn't mean that I don't hurt.

It doesn't mean that I don't spend every night crying myself to sleep.

It doesn't mean that I don't mourn the loss of the years I spent in this relationship.

It doesn't mean that I don't pray every night for direction, answers, change, and peace.

It doesn't mean I'm exempt from experiencing the five stages of the grieving process:
1) Denial
2) Anger
3) Bargaining
4) Depression

And finally, 5) Acceptance...

My marriage is over.

I will be stronger on the other side of this.

My kids will respect me more for fighting for my happiness.

I wasn't ever just given anything, I've worked extremely hard for everything I've had in my life.

I will not settle for a love that's less than I deserve and be complacent just because it's the easier road.

I will find my equal.  I will find my match.  I will find my steadfast partner.  I will find my happy place.

It's just going to take some time for everything to fall into it's place.

- But until then... I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward.

Much Peace, Love and Light, My Friends.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

"I think I'm made of stone... I should be feeling more."


So I'm sure some of you may have noticed that I've been cryptic and oh-so emo with my social media posts lately.  I've been flying under the radar a lot these days.

I've told a handful of friends and family that I felt needed to know what was happening right now...  As for the rest of you, I've deflected the questions and ignored numerous calls and texts.


Alan and I have agreed to separate for the time being.

I have officially moved out of our home and am temporarily shacking up with my best friend, Karla, until I can figure out how I want to proceed.

This wasn't an easy decision...  for any of us.

Even though it was ultimately my decision to leave, that doesn't mean it's been all fun, puppy kisses and unicorn farts.  It's been a hard, hard thing to stomach.

The "why" of it is complicated to say the very least...  and you'd probably only understand my reasoning if you were extremely close to me, or spent a substantial amount of time at our house with us.  I've never been one to openly share private details of my relationship struggles with people I weren't extremely close to.

- That being said, I'm not going to air out all of our issues. 

But here's what I feel you all do need to know:

- My kids are both doing well and adjusting.

- Alan and I are very dedicated to our kids and have been able to remain very amicable, patient and understanding of one another.

- We had issues from the beginning.  I spent much of the last 5 years trying to be very communicative about my feelings on those issues and  tried to offer up many viable solutions.  I have a lot of peace right now knowing that no one (Alan included) can say that I didn't try.

- I'm not ready to talk about it.  I'm still figuring this whole thing out right now.  There are so many bits and pieces and I'm just trying to find that one crucial piece that will help the whole picture come back into focus.

- I appreciate every call, email, text and prayer from those that have reached out to me privately.  Please continue to pray for me and my family as we search for the right answers. Thank you.