“For better or worse” – those are some powerful words when you hear them, and repeat them, standing next to the Caribbean Sea, in Ocho Rios Jamaica. Kevin and I said those words four years ago today, but in some ways it seems like a lifetime ago. Our wedding “made for two” and our honeymoon were perfect. We picked Couples Tower Isle for this occasion and the minute we got off the ride from the airport and stepped into the open air lobby, we knew we picked the right place. The internet does not do CTI justice and we were not disappointed, for one moment, with our wedding, honeymoon, the service, staff, food, moments, wedding dinner, and the friends we met there – and still stay in contact with. We LOVE Couples Tower Isle.
As we stood there by the Caribbean Sea we had so much excitement and hope for our future. We were going to return to Charlotte, sell my house, give up his apartment, find a house we loved, and settle into a happy future. We were going to blend our families with ease – and we would all live happily ever after.
Our days in Jamaica were perfect and, as some of you know, reality struck as we were seated on our return flight home from Jamaica, when we saw Kevin’s ex-wife as one of the flight attendants on our flight. What? You say? I know, right. She “worked” the other side of the plane, not looking our way or acknowledging our presence. She walked up behind our seats at one point in the flight and rammed her hip into my left shoulder. Now was my left shoulder hanging out into the aisle or was it in its own parameters of the seat range and the hip cruised into my area – innocently or not – I will never know. The aisles on those three section planes are smaller and she had a hard time getting up and down the aisles without turning sideways, so I am sure it was an innocent bump. There are 3,000 flights that leave Charlotte each day and she just “happened” to be on our return trip home. “God’s will” she stated. She had a 1 in 6,000 chance of being on our flight that day – and that was normally her day off because she went to dance class in the early evening. You can draw your own conclusions, but for my new readers, this is how we were welcomed back into the states as a married couple.
Six weeks after our wedding we had to put our precious cat Haley to sleep. She had cancer and it was beginning to close up her throat. She was almost 15 years old and that day was one of the hardest days of my life. This is no joke. Morgan (my daughter) and I took her to the vet and going through that process was enough to break our hearts. It was almost 9 months later that Kevin took me to a store that had rescue kittens for sale. I saw one, held her, fell in love with her, and now we have Gracie. Luckily she came to us on September 11, 2010, and no one knew how much I would need her in the coming months. We thought we were adopting her and rescuing her, but what we didn’t know is that months down the road, she would stay by my side, every single day, and help me in ways that no one else could have done. I know Haley somehow sent her to be by my side.
We bought a house that needed lots of love and attention since the previous owners pretty much trashed it, we are stillllll working on it! But we do love it. My daughter was married in May 2010 and Kevin and I merged our families, or tried to. It is hard to merge families when one side of the equation is constantly hearing lies and sewage about the other side. People – if you are going through a separation or divorce, please remember that when you use your children as pawns in anger and for retaliation, the people who are hurt the most are your children. When I was in the midst of a divorce I know I said my share of ugly things, but never, in my life, have I seen someone use their children as heavy artillery against the ex-spouse and wife. Not at this level.
Then Mr Lumpcake came into our lives. We have no way of knowing how long Mr Lumpcake was riding around inside my breast, but March 2011, he was discovered and the battle began. On the day of my first cancer surgery, Kevin’s son was here at our house and his ex-wife brought wedding pictures over, they were wedding pictures from their wedding 20 years ago. She told her son “I think your Dad might want these”….what an odd way to teach your children how to act when cancer hits the family of your ex-spouse. Was she hoping he would be happy the day of my cancer surgery to be reminded of the biggest mistake of his life? Who wakes up with thoughts about doing such an odd thing? After my cancer was removed and my full diagnosis was revealed, our focus was taken off of our marriage and everything else, and fighting and surviving became my full-time job and my life. Triple negative breast cancer is nothing to mess around with – so we didn’t. Out came the heavy artillery, this time aimed at my body. This time it was directed by an oncologist, a genetics counselor, surgeons, radiologists, and pathologists. The battle has been won, I am considered NED (no evidence of disease) and I am speeding toward my three-year anniversary mark. That is a big day for triple negative breast cancer survivors. March 1, 2014. A big big day!
Life has continued on here at the house. We have poured lots of time, money, and attention into this house, inside and out, trying to cover over the stains of the previous owners, the neglect, and the destruction. We still love this house and we continue to work on what should have been finished years ago. Our path took a little detour for cancer, but now we are back on track, we even added on a screen room, that we LOVE, and spend a lot of our time enjoying.
We still continue to struggle with the mishaps of a loosely documented divorce. The two lawyers that navigated this divorce should be reported to the bar. If only people would understand how often issues arise down the road – and the legal system will say “what does the document say?”….well, what if the document states barely anything? Then you have a lot of room for a lot of issues, drama, and more legal bills. If you are going through a separation GET YOUR PAPERS IN ORDER and have every single detail hammered out and written in your original document. Thinking that you know your soon-to-be ex-spouse and thinking they wouldn’t ever do this or that – is pure insanity. You don’t know the person you are married to, and what they are capable of, until you start separation documents. Trust me on this one. Our lives would be a whole lot easier had the two original lawyers done what they should have done….you know, done what they were paid to do. But no. So our drama continues. Three more years until Kevin’s youngest ages out and we can be done with the insanity of what we live in. Three more years. Seems like a long time doesn’t it?
Kevin is now spending rotating weekends with his aging parents. He has the sweetest parents in the world. Cute as two little buttons those two. They are aging quickly the last three months or so – 91 and 90 years old. They are beginning to fall, they are getting confused, they have to stay at home more due to the fear of falling, and they just don’t feel well. They are precious to me and are one of the silver linings of meeting Kevin and getting to know his family. His siblings, and their spouses, are all terrific. We don’t see them enough – but they are great.
Usually by November we have a spring trip planned to go back to CTI. We don’t have one booked yet. I am not sure if this means we aren’t going, or are going someplace else, but I know I have never felt so at home someplace before in my whole life than I do at CTI. Taking a Caribbean vacation anytime soon? Check out Couples Tower Isle in Ocho Rios and let your dreams begin.
So here I am, reflecting back to the side of the Caribbean, with Pastor Rose marrying Kevin and I next to the beautiful aqua sea. We had so many dreams of a great future back then. We didn’t imagine dealing with drama and constant insanity, we never imagined cancer, we never thought about not being able to blend the families easily. We just imagined and hoped for a happy easy future, but that isn’t what we got. I realize now that no one really gets that. Everyone has their issues, their struggles, their battles within wars, good days, bad days, financial struggles, financial stability, trouble with kids, having their children be their light and their happiness, health issues, losing people they love, disappointments, broken dreams, and surprises – some good, some not so good.
So, even though this isn’t the four years I had imagined, it is the four years I have been granted. This is my path and this is Kevin’s path. Our lives together, and our lives apart, this is path we are on. Since I have had a warning flag thrown onto my track, I am living my life differently. I do things that mean something to other people. I don’t waste time anymore because time is precious. You just don’t realize how precious it is until it is threatened to be taken away. I know, in my heart, that the next few years are going to be better; one way or another. I also know that once Kevin’s youngest starts driving and ages into college, our ties to drama will be basically cut. And that my friends, will be a happy day.
For better or worse….the words I continue to try and live by. Not only in marriage, but in life.