Wednesday, April 24, 2013


So, I've decided to share the news... I am seeing someone.

For now, I plan to protect her privacy by not sharing a lot about her, including her name. For now, let's call her "Sandra". But here's what I will tell you:

It's going well.

Sandra is beautiful, smart, and funny. She is a very warm-hearted person doing speech therapy work in an elementary school. Sandra is fully aware of my situation: of how I lost Aimee, that I write this blog (she doesn't read it), and that I still have very close relationships with Aimee's surviving family members. In fact, she's very supportive of that. We've been together about six months now, and although it's still early, I am cautiously optimistic about where this might go.

I have also started to slowly introduce her and Rowan, with the three of us occasionally doing activities together. That part is really weird, because although I am used to being with her when it's just to two of us, adding Rowan into the dynamic feels like I'm betraying Aimee just a little somehow. Intellectually I know better, but it's still weird.

You see, when we're all together, I sometimes try to imagine a possible future where we're a family. And I see this analogy where our family was a three-piece puzzle, with each person - Aimee, Rowan, and I - were each one of the pieces. Together, our three pieces created an image of our family. Then one of those pieces was suddenly gone, and our family looked a lot different. It took some time, but I was able to reach a point of acceptance of how this new family image appeared. But now if I imagine Sandra's piece fitted in where Aimee's used to be, well now that's a whole new family image, and that one will take some getting used to (if we get to that point).

For now, I am enjoying getting to know her, and beginning to watch her and Rowan get to know each other. It's all a bit surreal, and weird, and fun, and sad, and many other things as well. But one thing I feel very sure about:

Aimee would want this. I have not a second's hesitation about that. Aimee would want us to move on, build new relationships, find love, and round out our beautiful family. Maybe Sandra is that piece, maybe not. But I know I am doing the right thing.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Whenever I have to travel and Rowan doesn't come with me, she goes to stay with grandma. Such was the case for the trip I'm currently on. The night before I left, Donna came by and picked her up. It was a bit of an "off" good-bye for us, as both Rowan and I weren't feeling well. But as she walked across the porch she looked back through the front window and smiled. I blew her a kiss, which she caught on her cheek. Then she blew one back, which I caught on mine. It's one of our little rituals.

Fast forward to the next day. At one point during my flight, we hit some fairly serious turbulence. As a general rule, turbulence does not bother me. I understand the difference between being jostled around by unstable air, and an aircraft being in trouble (although I've thankfully never experienced the latter). But some things are just different now, since Aimee's death. And simple things like turbulence aren't as simple to me anymore.

As the plane bumped around, my mind wandered into decidedly unhelpful territory. What if one of these times it wasn't turbulence, but a real emergency? What if I died in a plane crash? I just kept remembering that last exchange with Rowan through my front window, seeing it over and over again. Would she remember that exchange if I died today? Like I remember waving good-bye to Aimee as she left for her scuba trip?

This wasn't the first time I've had these kinds of thoughts since Aimee's death. I've gotten more - for lack of a better word - paranoid about my safety. Not for my sake, but for Rowan's.

It's unsettling.

If we think about it, we all know just how fragile human life really is. That fact punched me in the face on December 18, 2011. But it's not just Aimee's death. We see it all the time in the news (such as the bombings in Boston this week), stories of people dying in accidents, or storms, or any number of causes. Aimee's accident just brought it home to me in a very personal way. And increasingly over the past 16 months, I've become more wary about my own odds for surviving through Rowan's childhood.

Make no mistake, that is now my number one goal in life - seeing Rowan to adulthood. Seeing her get married and have children would be a nice bonus.

I don't know if this is normal for people who've lost someone suddenly, to have this heightened sense of your own mortality. Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of feeling like this.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Back to Florida this week

Although I haven't really spoken/written about all this, there have been some legal implications of the incident that took Aimee's life. While I am still not really at liberty to discuss that part of this situation, I will say that on Friday I have to go back to Miami for a deposition. Now get ready for the understatement of the year:

I am not looking forward to it.

Although I considered going to back to Florida last year, possibly to do something to commemorate the one year anniversary of Aimee's death, I eventually thought better of it. I just have no desire to set foot back in the state of Florida, period. Yet I will be forced to back, and very soon.

I have a mixture of feelings about this trip in general, but the part I may most be dreading is going through that airport again. I remember my two trips through there in December 2011 very clearly:

December 12, 2011. We're exhausted, just having come off a red eye flight from Seattle. But we're also excited. As Donna, Aimee, Rowan and I make our way to baggage claim and then to the rental car counter, we're feeling an odd mixture of crankiness (from lack of real sleep) and anticipation of the week ahead. The weather is sunny and warm, and the whole vacation is ahead of us. As we begin to discuss a plan for getting breakfast, we settle into the joy of knowing it's going to be a fantastic trip...

December 20, 2011. Donna, Rowan, and I retrace our steps from eight days previous in reverse, and in somber silence. The pain is so heavy and thick it sits on us with a tangible weight on our shoulders, and threatens to smother each of us. Aimee's suitcase, filled with her clothes, makeup, jewelry, shampoo, and other personal effects, drags behind me like a case of lead. We see places in the airport that we'd been just eight short days before - the bench at the car rental counter where everyone waited for me to get the car, the escalator where Rowan got scared and blocked it until I came back up - and the huge difference in mood punches me in the stomach. Far worse than that, I can't shake this terrible guilt of leaving Florida without Aimee, like a soldier who's left a fallen comrade behind to be taken by the enemy. I feel like a failure as a husband and a father, even though logic tells me that's not the case. 

Getting through that airport and getting on the plane home was very likely one of the hardest things I've ever done, and it took every ounce of strength I had.

Now I have to go back through it again.

I'm not staying in Florida for long, that's for sure. I fly in on Thursday, my deposition is on Friday, and I fly out again Friday night. I'd sure appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Good news

Recently I found out that Caroline (Aimee's sister-in-law) got some long hoped-for good news. While I'm not at liberty to share what the news is, I can say that all of us are extremely happy for her. And as I reflected on this latest development in her life, I came to a startling realization.
Aimee's sister-in-law
It's a miracle she's even here at all.

Her good news is a reminder to me of how close we came to losing two members of our family on December 18 (for those that didn't know, Caroline was also on the boat that day). And there were six other people on the boat as well, including two members of the crew, any of whom might not have lived if things had just even the tiniest bit differently. In fact, another passenger did  almost die, and apparently had to be revived with CPR.

I don't spend a lot of time wondering about the "why" of it all. That's not always for us to know. But Caroline's great news is a reminder that sometimes the "why not" is even more important. Why didn't anyone else on the boat die that day?

As a firm believer in God, I have to believe that Aimee's work here on earth was complete. (I vehemently disagree with His perfect wisdom on this one, but I'm not going to win any arguments against The Almighty.) But for the others on the boat that day, their work here on earth is obviously not done. There is more for them to do, and hopefully their second chance is not lost on them (I know it's not lost on Caroline).

I got my own second chance when I was 17. I was in a horrific car accident that most people didn't even know about. Car was demolished. I crawled out without a scratch, and the driver only had a scrape across his cheek. Due to the specific circumstances of that crash, I most certainly should have died, and a number of laws of physics were broken in order to have the outcome we had. As a dumb teenager, I had no idea how miraculous that was at the time, but I've realized it since then.  And I know that it has helped shape my attitude towards life and my fellow humans. I was kept alive for a reason.

Caroline, my sincere congratulations on your good news. I can't tell you how glad I am you're here to have this moment.

Caroline also has a blog that you ought to check out. She's a far better writer than I am.