Happy Anniversary Katie!

Two years ago today, I went for a late evening cup of coffee with a woman that I met on Okcupid. It was spur of the moment, and I am the type that needs planning. There are no spurs in my moments, but for some reason, that night was different.

I’m glad that I wore those spurs…not literal ones, metaphorical.

Two years later, we’re still together. I am forty years old, and this is the longest relationship that I’ve ever had. I’m not an easy person to stay with, but Katie has been by my side though everything, health scares, failed novels, surgeries, and the every day worries that every middle-aged person has. She is there for me, and I am there for her.

I joke that “I’m glad that she settled,” but she didn’t. She just found the person that fit. I’m a lucky man that it’s me.

Katie likes to say that I take care of her, but the opposite is true. She keeps me sane. She lets me be myself. She keeps my mind from kiting me off somewhere, and tolerates my massive geekdom, horrible puns, and bad habits. She’s not put off by my idiosyncrasies (even when I am), like “book brain,” where I get lost in a story idea mid-conversation. She gets me.

I love her madly. I want to spend the rest of my life with her. If I’m lucky, I will.

Happy anniversary, my love.

Craig

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Guilt or the Void: Facing a Lover’s Death

craig-and-val-jan-14-2013

On Tuesday it was four years since Valerie died. I admit, it’s getting easier to accept, though I still had a good cry on the way home from the grave. Certain songs still trigger tears, and I dream about those days around her death several times a week. I live them over and over: a twisted Groundhog’s Day with no conceivable end. There is no end to Love when it’s snatched away.

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What I learned From My Mother

Two years ago today, my mother suffered a massive blood clot to her brain and passed away. She and my father were on vacation in Palm Springs. It was very sudden, and although she wasn’t in the best of health, it was unexpected. From what I can tell, she was having a great time on vacation, and didn’t suffer when it happened. I take some comfort in that. We should all be so lucky to go that way.

I got the news just hours before one of my best friend’s wedding. Needless to say, it was a very tumultuous day. It was the beautiful wedding and the love between my friend and his wife that kept me from falling apart that day.

But this is not a post about me. This is about my mom.

What I Learned From My Mom

My mom was a very giving person. She believed in helping others, and she would sacrifice her own desires to help someone in need. That is what I learned. I learned that the greatest virtue is giving of yourself. A good person helps their fellows, they build a family, an extended family, and a community.

I also learned that it’s near impossible to change the world alone. I learned that what you can change is your world. You can focus the scale down to just your circle, and change their lives. You can teach those people to improve the lives around them, and pass that on, and they pass the same on. That’s how you better the world. It’s not the grand gestures. It’s the small ones.

I do my best to follow her example. I don’t always succeed, but who knows the kind of impact I’ve had. I’d like to think that I’ve made my small patch of earth a little better. It’s a lesson well learned. I hope that more people learn it.

Be Like Mom. Pass It On

So if you ever wondered while I sometimes get all preachy and hippie-dippie here, now you know. I write about heroism often, because as a writer, I deal in heroes and villains. From my Mom, I learned that heroism isn’t strength of arm, it’s the willingness to sacrifice for the greater good.

I try not to preach, but I honestly do think that people should try to focus less on the big picture, and more on the little one. Be a good example and you will make a difference. Do what you can, give what you can. Change your scale to change the world.

My mother was a good person, a good teacher, and a good role model. I hope that I do her justice. Rest in peace, I love you.