Second Chance

This was the tenth Thanksgiving without Lisa.  I realized it on Wednesday as the girls and I drove to my parents’ house in Fayetteville.

That first year was unbearable.  I told my dad we could not eat at the dining room table.  I could not fathom sitting there without her by my side.  When we arrived, he had indeed set that table.  I refused to sit so the entire family picked up plates and resettled in the kitchen – some at the table, some at the bar.

Even butterbeans reminded me of her.

I don’t like to revisit the pain.  It’s a dark place for me.

What I’m most thankful for this year is second chances.  I’m thankful that I was able to move again after years of paralysis.

Not everyone gets that chance.  Some don’t have the good fortune of accepting the loss and having the strength to find their new selves.  Some can’t get over the hurt, the betrayal the world cast on them.  Some aren’t able to find what I have – genuine happiness in a new partner.

My girls too have found happy again.  They are thriving, each in their own way.  Perhaps the greatest gift I can give them is to be solid myself.  I hope that my example of pulling out of the hole, of giving new life a chance, will enable them, regardless of what they face in their futures, the ability to dig out themselves.

I don’t take my second chance for granted.  I thank God for the people who have been put in my life – the ones who tossed me ropes and ladders and flotation devices not so long ago.  I thank God for bringing Julie into my life at the exact right time – at a time when she and I were both ready to take a leap from tough to happiness.

It’s not easy.  Sometimes grief is more comfortable.  It can be very secure – you know your role.  You don’t have to move.  Sitting is much easier than running.

But had Julie and I not trusted again, had we not been willing to leap, I can’t imagine what life might be.

I hate I went through loss.  It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  I am thankful I jumped.  It was the second hardest – and yet, the most exhilarating of my life.


Leave a comment


  1. Kim Rebecca

     /  December 4, 2019

    Thanks again for your heartfelt words… they mean a lot and I appreciate your honesty always!

  2. Jo Nance

     /  December 4, 2019

    Grief is love with nowhere to go. I am so glad God gave you Julie! Merry Christmas!!

  3. Christopher Kashap

     /  December 4, 2019

    I like the way you jump: white men CAN jump!

    …and rebound.

    Glad Julie is on your team.

  4. Steve Montgomery

     /  December 4, 2019

    Thank you kindly my good man.

    As with every paragraph you post, since our first encounter with me in the minivan and 3 kids at the check-in line for camp seagull, you continue to shine the light on it all for me and my family.

    Gives me hope with each push of your pen.

    Thank you Brother!


  5. Wanda Easley

     /  December 5, 2019

    What an inspirational tribute to Lisa, Julie and your family. Thank you!

  6. Aunt Susan

     /  December 5, 2019

    You have grown so much from that overwhelming grief and loss. Others have not and that is sad. It is a painful thing to remember, but a healing thing. I am glad you have Julie and your girls and have allowed me to remain in it as well.

  7. you once again are my hero!


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