Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

part of the Dill family at Thanksgiving 
This is another first for me. The first Thanksgiving without her here to celebrate with family and friends. It's not only a first for me but also for Adrienne's close friends and family as well so I know I am not alone in feeling this way. There are many times where I have felt as if I was the only one going through such a loss or struggle, when in reality there are so many more this very same day wishing that special person was here celebrating with them as well. I know close friends going through some very similar painful firsts without their spouse, without their father, daughter, mother or that person that they shared a huge portion of their lives with and loved wholeheartedly. As I sit here thinking of my wife, I am surrounded by some of my amazing family and friends that help to ease that pain or sting as always.
I hope that you all are doing the same, surrounding yourselves with family/friends and that you have a great time of fellowship, football and insane amounts of food. Happy Thanksgiving to my amazing family as well as friends, near and far.
In our darkest of days we still have things in our lives to be thankful for. Mine this year are: having had the chance to love an amazing woman and share the memories we created, a family that will be by my side in the sunshine or through the storms, friends that would give the shirts off their backs and faith that tomorrow will bring new opportunities as well as new beginnings. Love and miss you Adrienne Harris Dill so much and thoughts of you flood my mind daily. I miss seeing the joy and excitement in your eyes as we celebrated these holidays together. 
"And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about."

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tis The Season....

Thanksgiving 2010 Seattle WA. We got engaged.
Here comes the Holiday season approaching swiftly and bringing with it many painful memories from last year. I have been very anxious with each day that passes, month that ends and as each new one begins. It is now November and I'm trying to figure out how in the world it is already here. Thanksgiving dinner and fellowship with family and friends is next week, with Christmas following shortly after. It is so difficult to be excited or joyous about all of the festivities that these months bring when they also carry the heavy burden in the form of the heartbreak and pain from the prior years loss. I am doing all that I can to stay thankful for what I have and for the amazing people that I will be surrounded by.

As I prepare for the holiday travels to be with family I cant help but feel a little bit like a loner. Surrounded by married couples with children, discussing hopes for more in the near future, meeting a newborn nephew for the first time, and seeing all of these new little families developing is so bitter sweet that I cannot even describe it. This is what we had, what we lived for, all our plans, aspirations and what we should still have today sharing the excitement alongside our families. At times I feel like I have become an expert at wearing a smile as a mask to hide that pain that dwells within. I have always been one to be  happy with and for all friends and family as their dreams come true, goals achieved and hardships tackled. Lately it has made me upset that thoughts of anger could even sneak in and make me ask why all that has been done and overcome in my relationship with Adrienne was taken away. At this very moment on the roller coaster ride of emotions I feel that I am temporarily in a valley or low spot very sad at the thoughts of spending another holiday season without Adrienne. Like all the other lows and struggles I know that this too will pass and that I will overcome eventually but I don't want to have these negative thoughts or feelings taking away from love that my family surrounds me with.  I almost feel guilty at times for it even knowing that it is not always in my control.

The Garden De Lights where I proposed to Adrienne
In all of our darkest days and severe hardships there is still so much more to be thankful for. This is what I continue to tell myself to try and drown out those thoughts and sadness. Tonight I am catching a flight to Minnesota to be with my family for Thanksgiving and meet my baby nephew for the first time. Another escape from Augusta, another trip to recharge and soak up all of the love from family and friends. This is what I am thankful for...

The last time I flew Adrienne to Minnesota she was visiting a good friend from college who had recently moved there with her husband. This same couple is expecting a baby boy and will be having him while i am in town. I am so excited to meet him and give him some love for both Adrienne and I, as I know that she would not have  missed this moment for anything.

Finding beauty in the storm is a gift that if mastered would make us much better individuals. My wife Adrienne had an ability to do this that was almost as infectious as that perfect smile of hers.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

11 Months and Another Goal to Tackle

November 13th..... 11, ELEVEN.... ELEVEN months.... This is the first time that this date has snuck up on me without being noticed a week out with thoughts of it lingering in my mind and clouding all other thoughts or abilities to function.  As I sat here thinking about December 13th, which is the 1 year mark, I started to feel overwhelmed and nervous. I don't want to dread dates forever, nor be frightened by there approach and the lack of plans to keep myself preoccupied on them. I realized I had absolutely nothing planned for the 1 year mark and needed to make plans to get out of town, do something meaningful, uplifting and special that would bring some joy so that I am not merely sulking in loneliness and drowning in the painful memories of this date 1 year ago.

Just recently a friend of mine asked me to help them train for a half marathon while I was preparing for mine as well. Eventually after a few runs together they invited me to run with their group in the 1/2 marathon on Kiawah Island just outside of Charleston S.C. This was Adrienne's second favorite city to take day trips to and visit. Second to the one and only Savannah GA where we were wed.
The location already caught my attention but it was the date of the event that really gave me the chills. December 13th... As soon as I found out the date I was convinced that this would be the perfect distraction, goal, plan whatever you want to call it for this day that's memories bring back pain and hurt. Working towards another goal/run will help me to take my mind off the date and maybe focus more on the positives that will come from the new December 13 of 2014, not the dark Dec 13th of 2013. I just registered before I could change my mind and am going to do it. Done and done. This date will not win and allow me to be depressed, but rather bring joy, fulfillment and focus on positive memories of love and happiness. Many things fall into place for a reason and this is one of those things. The date of that event as well as my friend inviting me are no coincidence at all. Find positive in all things. Do not let thoughts of the future cloud the current thoughts and aspirations you have in this very moment.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Unforgettable Weekend, Unforgettable Memories. Savannah 1/2 Marathon

Back to where it all began on March 30th 2012. I cannot quite describe the feelings that came over me as I arrived back in Savannah for the first time since our wedding. I drove by the park where we had our first look, the park where we took our engagement photos, the restaurants where we ate and arrived to check into the hotel where so many great memories were made with loved ones at our reception. It was in this very same City, very same hotel that we had our first dance, where we were able to celebrate our marriage with all those that we hold dear.

This city is just as beautiful as it was then, though I view it with a much different perspective now. Its not quite the same when I'm taking in all its beauty without Adrienne there with me. I can picture her very vividly in this place, weather its at the candy store where we took some flirtatious engagement photos, or on River Street where we watched fire works together on the 4th of July. Along with the wedding, Adrienne and I also had many other amazing memories and experiences of Savannah together. She used to tell me early on when we started dating about how much she loved it here, and about how her dream was to be married at Forsyth park in front of the fountain which was right next to the tennis courts her Father played on as a youngster.

I saved the visit to Forsyth Park for after I crossed the finish line, although it was walking distance from my hotel on Friday night when I checked in. That was something that I wanted to experience for the first time after I finished the run, with a clear mind that I get from running. It was a whirlwind of emotions standing there in the very spot that we exchanged our vows a short time ago. Never would I have guessed this day would come as we stood there a few years ago, hand in hand, teary eyed and full of young love. Yet here I stand...

I managed to reach my personal goals for the run which made me excited but not surprised as I knew that Adrienne would be giving me strength the entire way. There were so many amazing people here with so many touching and amazing stories of trials, failures, struggles, victories or triumphs. I ran briefly next to a blind girl that was running her very first half marathon, also heard many stories of people running in honor of a loved one they had recently lost. No matter where you are, who you are or your circumstance, you cannot judge others nor assume that you know their situation must be better than yours because it simply may not be so. What an amazing fulfilling experience that I am very grateful to have had the health and opportunity to be apart of.

 Some of the hardest, most painful, and uneasy steps will ultimately be the ones that change us for the better or bring us one step closer to where we have aligned our goals. This is something that I have told friends and continuously tell myself when I feel uneasy or scared about another one of those firsts or steps leading to the unknown.  This run, this visit, and this fundraiser are all parts of those uneasy, scary yet oh so fulfilling steps that will ultimately guide me along my way on this uncharted path. I dont know whats next but I intend on taking it head on & whole heartedly.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Running to Where It All Began

Last long training session before the 1/2 marathon next week!

Thank you all for the love and support! MOTIVATED! This run

and fundraiser mean so much to me. This will be the first time I

have been back to Forsyth Park since the day Adrienne and I

exchanged our vows there, March 30th 2012. Next Saturday I

will cross the finish line which is directly behind the fountain at

Forsyth Park. I have many mixed emotions about this but I

believe I am ready! With thoughts of you and beautiful

memories I run, you inspire me daily Adrienne. 

"Each day do something that scares you or takes you out of your comfort zone"