Forty-six

Forty-six

Friday, April 24, I woke up beyond excited. My countdown was nearing the end. My countdown of when I could leave to pick up Jason.

As the morning progressed, my mood enhanced. The excitement was hard to control.

Friday marked the 47th day since Jason left. I was finally able to greet this man I love face-to-face at the Asheville airport.

On March 9, Jason left for Florida to start working on Sanibel at two jobs he was offered.

I remember that morning like it was yesterday. I remember the emotions that took hold, well to be honest, consumed me. That morning, March 9, was one of the hardest things I was ever faced with. You ask why?

Jason was leaving me in Kingsport, more than 800-miles north of his final destination.

My best friend, my boyfriend, my rock was leaving until we could make ends meet. Our goal was to work countless hours and get enough money together, so he could come back to get me and all of our animals and head back to Fort Myers.

The 46-days we spent a part had many high and low points.

It’s truly inspiring to see what you are capable of doing when faced with a situation like that. A situation where I was living by myself in a state where I had no family or good friends to lean on when needed.

I found such an incredible amount of independence deep down that I had no idea was there. I stayed true to my plan . . . I continued to live without the best part of my life right next to me. I found time to go running with Lucy, my puppy, reaching distances that made me proud. I even found a new passion of cooking healthy meals that were absolutely delicious.

The best, truly gratifying part, was the amount of work I was able to accomplish doing freelance writing for the three papers that hired me. I wrote enough articles and did enough editing to pay all of our bills for the entire month of April. All of our bills were paid by the second week of the month. That spoke volumes. It only reaffirmed that I could take care of myself, truly take care of myself while keeping a roof over my head and food on the table. That accomplishment set the ball rolling in the right direction. All of the hours Jason was working could completely go towards our move back to Fort Myers.

With that milestone met, I was able to book a plane ticket for Jason on April 7, Day 30 of us being a part.

Even with all the positive thoughts I tried to keep in check, I still had a few breakdowns, a few more than I hoped while Jason was away.

It’s crazy how many emotions you go through. I found myself crying at such random times, and also smiling when I least expected. The daily phone calls from my mom on her way home from work were comforting. My older brother also called often checking in on me.

My favorite part of the day was when Jason would call. I could not fall asleep until I heard his voice, to hear how he was doing, to hear he was okay.

I remember one breakdown as clear as day. It started one Friday night while Jason was away. I completely broke down. Lucy, our puppy, helped tremendously that night. She instantly became concerned as the tears violently fell. Lucy began licking the tears away before cuddling in my lap, helping me to gain composure again. I remember walking to bed, but was unable to sleep well at all. The next day my anxiety reached its highest point leaving me paralyzed.

That day was awful. I felt helpless. Everything I tried didn’t help.

Through it all, I felt an incredible amount of closeness to Jason as I lived my life in Kingsport, and he lived his in Fort Myers. Although we were living our separate lives, I felt we were still sharing our life together. We became closer. He remained my rock. He gave me tough love when I needed it to break through when I got the sinking feeling.

Jason shared how much he loved me and missed me on a daily basis. I felt how hard it was for him, as well, through our conversations. I knew, without a doubt, that he was doing everything in his power to come back to me sooner. Although he sounded exhausted on more than one occasion he woke the next day and worked another 15+ hour day, all so he could keep that promise he made before leaving.

So, back to Friday, April 24.

I arrived at the airport at 12:27 and he was supposed to land at 12:32. It was absolutely perfect timing. I had enough time to make a quick bathroom break and then stand where I could see Jason come into view.

It never fails. Six minutes turned into the longest 45-minutes of my life. Jason’s plane was delayed leaving Punta Gorda.

As soon as I saw him, I felt my entire body relax. I felt complete again. My true love was now in my presence. He was now standing in front of me. I was able to hug him, kiss him, see his smile instead of hearing the smile form over the phone.

I was giddy as all hell.

The relaxation that flowed through Jason’s body told me our decision to be a part was more than worth it. It was worth it because everything was coming together for us. Almost like it was meant to happen the way it did. Jason has been able to find work and continues to find more work. The stress we felt about making ends meet in Kingsport, I could sense was vanishing. He almost looked stress free. I didn’t even have to ask if we did the right thing.

The rest of the day was absolutely perfect. It was spent one-on-one, as well as with some of the friends we had made in Tennessee. I must have told Jason a hundred times how nice it was to have him back home. Well home, for the next 24+ hours until we headed south to Fort Myers.

Leo and Lucy at one of the many gas stations we had to stop at to fill up the truck.

Leo and Lucy at one of the many gas stations we had to stop at to fill up the truck.

After the truck was packed and we said our goodbyes to Frazier, we slowed down and fell asleep for a while before we hit the road at 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

Those early morning hours finally ended as we arrived in Fort Myers around 8 p.m.

It was an incredibly long drive, especially when traveling with three animals.

Our poor Leo had a difficult six or seven hours before he finally calmed down and found some comfort with our puppy Lucy. Kimber was frightened and let us know she wanted out of the truck hours ago.

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Leo

 

Kimber

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Lucy

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Leo finally relaxed as Lucy layed on him.

Leo finally relaxed as Lucy layed on him.

Even through the constant desire to be out of a moving vehicle, Jason and I had some amazing conversations, especially as we neared 17 hours on the road.

Our connection only intensified. Our connection only strengthened, as we had those deep conversations of our present circumstances, our future plans and goals.

A cloud came into view that resembled a heart as we neared Fort Myers.

A cloud came into view that resembled a heart as we neared Fort Myers.

Time a part definitely makes the heart grow fonder. I feel so much closer to a man I had already felt a deep connection with.

Now we are in the limbo stages staying with my parents until our new place is ready this weekend. I’m looking forward to making us a new home once again. I’m looking forward to getting us to the point where we can both relax with all of our belongings and animals all under one roof again.

Another chapter has been closed. Another chapter is already well on its way. Our lives are intertwined again in the same state, under the same roof.

We are living in Southwest Florida once again surrounded by family and friends.

Two years ago tomorrow, we traveled to Kingsport to start a new life. We arrived at our new home on May 1. Who would have thought we would be back in Fort Myers so soon?

Flowing freely

This morning I faced the most difficult experience I have ever had in my life.

I have been dreading today since Wednesday. I’ve been trying to slow down the days because I didn’t want Monday to become a reality.

This morning I knew was going to be hard. I just had no idea it was going to hurt this bad.

I feel that Jason and I became even closer this weekend. Every thing is an open book between us, well it always has been. But this weekend, I feel we shared even more. He read my emotions, and I read his. I shared my feelings and he shared comforting words, while he too expressed what he was feeling. There were many times we found comfort in being close to one another, often times not sharing any words at all.

That’s the beauty of really knowing someone. You can read their body language and know when a smile is needed, when a kiss can bring some comfort and when a hug can change the overwhelming feelings.

I felt his nerves yesterday as he was packing, as he was preparing to leave for Florida this morning. His nerves were my worry of what the immediate future had in store for us.

As soon as he started packing his bag the tears began. I was faced with our reality. Packed bags meant the day was almost here.

The beauty of this decision that we made together is exactly that. There was no arguments. There was no heated discussions. There was no yelling. The decision struck us both at the same time. As the weighted decision started taking shape and the logistics were being discussed, we both tried to be each other’s strength.

I will never forget the words of encouragement Jason shared last night and this morning. I will never forget the strength of his arms as they engulfed me trying to give me as much comfort as he could. I will never forget the love I felt when he shared “I promise.”

One of the things that stuck out the most, that has me smiling even through the tears ,is the frame he grabbed to pack of him and I. A picture that exemplifies the fun we have together and the love that we share.

Last night we fell asleep in each other’s arms. Last night was the last time we will be able to lay next to each other for I don’t know how long.

This morning when his alarm went off a little after 3 a.m. my chest instantly began hurting. I slowly made my way out of bed after he was done in the bathroom. I sat on the couch and watched him put the last little bit in his bag. The strength I was trying to brave quickly vanished as the tears began rolling down my face.

This was it . . .

After Jason zipped up his bag he sat on the couch next to me. We were now faced with what we were both dreading. The inevitable.

Jason stood up, as did I. I couldn’t look him in the eyes because of the tears that were flowing freely as I walked rather quickly into his arms. The crying only became harder as he wrapped his arms around me, kissing the top of my head and my face.

This man is my everything. This man is my rock, my best friend, my strength when I have a hard time finding it.

So now as I sit here and write this blog the tears are flowing once again.

My tears became his tears as we walked outside and stood on the front deck still trying to put off the inevitable. One last hug, one last kiss, one last time saying I love you was just that. I couldn’t let him get in the car, although I knew the time had come.

I grabbed Lucy and put her in my arms after Jason made it to his car trying to calm the tears, trying to calm my body as Jason shut the door to the car. By this time Jason’s tears were flowing just as freely. He told me he couldn’t drive away if I was standing on the front porch. One last kiss, one last I love you and I turned around and walked in the house. As soon as the door closed I almost fell to my knees as the crying intensified. I somehow found some strength and walked to the window and peeked outside. I saw Jason wave goodbye and then watched him pull out of the driveway. I watched until I couldn’t see his tail lights any longer.

I knew today was going to be hard, but didn’t know how much it would hurt.

After battling my thoughts I was finally able to fall asleep almost three hours after he left. My sleep was filled with dreams of this beautiful man of mine. I woke to a text message from him sharing how far he made it and he hoped I was able to fall back asleep.

After taking Lucy outside, I came in and called him. I needed to hear his voice. He sounded just as emotionally drained as I was, but still giving me words of encouragement.

I’ve said this many times before. I have the love of a man who would move mountains to make sure we are okay. I know we will be together once again very soon. I know we will feed off of each other and be okay during our time a part. He’s given me the strength to keep my head held high. He’s given me the love to make it through this time.

This weekend only reaffirmed once again that I found the perfect man for me. I have found the man who I want to spend the rest of my life with. I have found my soul mate, my one true love, my best friend.

I pray that the rest of his trip is safe and he makes it to his destination safe and sound. I can’t wait until we are able to Skype tonight, so I can see his beautiful smile. So I can see his comforting eyes. So I can hear his voice, which calms me time and time again.

I know the result of this decision is only going to bring us closer as a couple. I know this decision is only going to improve our lives and take away some of the stresses we have encountered as soon as we are together again.

I love you baby, more than you will ever know.


Here’s a recent post that shares why we had to make this decision:

https://meghan80.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/an-extremely-hard-decision/

My everything

This morning as Jason gave me a hug goodbye before leaving for work, his love consumed me. I felt it in every bone of my body how much I mean to him.

Although we share the words “I love you,” it’s the tender moments that mean so much more.

Last night as we were eating dinner what Jason suggested blew me away. My older sister and her family, as well as my mom and dad, are driving to Illinois for my cousins wedding this weekend. He said maybe we can meet them along the way.

A moment like this says “I love you.”

This suggestion of course brought an instant smile and an overwhelming feeling of love.

It’s true this man will do anything for me.

This man would drive, I don’t know for how many hours, just so I can see my family and give them all hugs.  I, of course, turned down his suggestion, although it was incredibly sweet.

Jason is my everything.

A few weeks ago Jason sent me a text that has stuck with me. Yes, when I read those words I cried. Good tears of course.

“I love you and live for you.”

Wow. Words like this left me speechless.

Everyday I’m thankful my first true love is back in my life. Everyday I’m thankful I have experienced true, unconditional love. I will be forever grateful to this man for showing me so much, for making me feel so loved.

I have such a caring, dedicated man who makes sure I smile each and everyday. Even when my stubbornness takes over, he still goes above and beyond to break through the barrier to make me smile. 

I love this man so much!

I finally spotted some . . .

Today after driving to Jonesborough and Gray for a few interviews, I stopped at the library in Kingsport to drop off some books that were due. As I was pulling onto the road that leads me to the library, this beautiful sea of orange, yellow, purple and reds grabbed my attention, especially off of the deep green leaves.

I’ve been waiting to find some tulips since spring began. These are one of my favorite flowers.

IMG_20140409_150418After I parked my car, dropped off my books and wandered around the library for a little while, I went for a walk down the sidewalk, so I could take some pictures. Of course, as I walked closer the beauty of these flowers only intensified.

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Once again, nature captured my attention . . .

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I love the spring season.

‘Speedway in Lights’

Jason and I started a new New Year’s Eve tradition last night, a trip to the Bristol Motor Speedway to see Speedway in Lights.

The event, which now is in its 17th year, supports the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities. Last year the event raised $712,000,which helped 87 different agencies. So far Speedway in Lights has raised more than $7 million.

It was only $12 a car to enter. The nice thing about the lights is you could view them through the comfort and warmth of your own car. We also listened to Christmas music as we drove along the guided path.

When we first entered, we drove on a portion of the Bristol Dragway entrance, where we saw lights that portrayed the 12 Days of Christmas. After driving a little more, we entered the ETSU Natural History Museum of Dino Land. There were many dinosaur lights that moved.

IMG_0878The volcano was by far my favorite in Dino Land.

As we made our way through, the lights were broken down into different categories, which was kind of neat. The majority of them also had movement.

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This one was neat, the movements of lights showed the car racing before the crew came out to work on the car.

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Jason’s favorite part was driving on the actual Bristol Motor Speedway track where there were more lights.  Although we were only going 15 mph, the grin on his face was priceless. It was quite the experience to drive up the bank, well just a little bit, . . . I have to admit it kind of made we want to go back to the track during an actual NASCAR race.

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After driving around the track you could stop and park. They had some rides for the kiddos, as well as many vendors selling goodies. There were also two fire pits going giving individuals the opportunity to buy marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers.

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 After we left the track we stopped at a fireworks store and puchased a few different kinds. Yep, we definitely started another tradition . As the clock struck midnight we lit the fireworks and watched the black sky light up with color.

New Year’s Eve was an amazing day, one filled with new memories and tons of laughter. I’m very excited to see what the New Year has in store for us. If it was anything like 2013, we are in good hands.

The arrival

After a long and stressful journey on the road Tuesday, April 30 … Wednesday,May 1 was almost perfect.

My stress level was completely depleted once we hit the road early that morning all because one my favorite songs made it’s way through the shuffle list on my iPod. What a great way to kick off a morning, a song that means the world to me, a song that reminds me why I love and care for Jason so much.

As the miles passed us by, the thinking began as the iPod continued to go through my playlist. It’s amazing what consumes your thoughts when you’re alone. Tears, happy tears, often filled my eyes as I thought about the journey Jason and I have had, as well as the steps we took to get to where we are now. Anything is possible when you put your mind, heart and soul into something you want to happen.

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We made the choice two years ago, took the chance almost a week ago and so far we are enjoying every moment of the change we put into action.

Although it’s definitely good therapy to be alone, I couldn’t wait for the bathroom breaks or scenery stops, so conversations could be had with others instead of myself and Leo, our cat.

Every stop we lingered a little longer due to all of us – Jason, myself and our friend Lisa – craving a little human interaction.

The rest stop in North Carolina was one of my favorite stops. Since it was so pretty, it led us for a little walk around the grounds to stretch our legs.

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The scenery from this point on was breathtaking, Interstate 26 provide such a beautiful view.

The first time we made it up the first hill, I called Jason to share my excitement … no more flat lands for us.

Unfortunately as our trip went on poor Leo became upset again and went to the bathroom all over the floorboard of the car, which was right next to the litter box. By this point I had enough of driving and wanted out of the car just as much as he.

As we entered Tennessee and continued driving, signs of cities we have grown to know by looking at the map appeared, which only increased the excitement of what was happening.

I remember seeing the sign for Kingsport and saying out load “Yeah” with a huge smile, almost laughing, which consumed the entire car. At that moment I wish Jason and I were in the same car, so he could feel and see how much excitement was felt at that very moment.

When we finally made it to our apartment I got out of the car and went straight to Jason and threw my arms around his neck.

“We made it,” was all I could say, all I could think. Jason’s incredibly long hours, my long days, our tight budget and determination to make it happen came true that day.

I went inside the office, met the sweet lady who had helped us secure a place, and got the keys for our apartment to finally get the cats out of the car. I instantly fell in love with the cute apartment, our stepping stone to bigger and better things.

What a rush, I made the drive from Florida to Tennessee …the longest drive by myself with a cat in the car.

Since arriving we have gone exploring, which included two additional states. In less than a week’s time we drove through Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky, wow!

One of the adventures we took was one Jason has been excited about for quite some time, two years to be precise.

Highway 421, “The Snake,” has 469 curves, three mountains and two valleys. Jason enjoyed every moment of that drive, while I became green during a few of the incredibly steep curves up and down the mountain.

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I have to say even though I was a little car sick, it was a rush to be so high up. It felt like you could reach up and touch the clouds. Definitely an experience I will always remember.

We also drove to Kentucky, a 90-minute drive, which took us through Virginia, to visit his cousin, which left us saying wow as we drove up the highway.

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Everything is so green, lush and beautiful looking in Virginia.

I am very glad I climbed on board and decided to make this move. I’m looking forward to see what else unfolds as we start to make a living in this beautiful place.

Half way there

After a long day we finally arrived at our first destination, Savannah, Georgia.

This morning was very fast pace as we finished packing the cars, did last minute cleaning and said our final goodbyes in Fort Myers.

Each of us got a cat, Jason drove with Kimber and I had Leo accompany me. Leo was very low key at first, sitting on the seat next to me enjoying the ride.

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As we made it onto the interstate of course that changed.

When we left the gas station the move hit me full force and the tears flowed freely. I was able to manage them when we got onto the interstate for the most part. Fortunately and unfortunately my attention was shifted and I had no time to cry anymore.

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Leo became sick, very sick, all over my seat not even 35 minutes into the trip. I instantly picked up the phone to call Jason and we had a pretty quick detour off the interstate to clean up my seat. As soon as we got back on, Leo decided to go to the bathroom in his bed (which I have to be thankful for, since we could discard that), so we got off the interstate again.

At this point my nerves, which were already sky high, intensified. We got going again and when we stopped further down the road Leo was drooling and foaming at the mouth bad. Jason got in my car turned the AC on full force and we were on our way again.

Leo finally settled in another bed in the back. He was high enough to look out the window and watch everything pass by. By the time we hit Ocala we were both calm and ready to finish the trip.

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Jason reminded me how much cats pick up on your energy. Poor guy was feeding off my anxiety, which made him just as anxious. Leo and I finally gave each other some calm energy allowing him to sleep and me concentrate on driving while listening to music.

This is the first time I have traveled with an animal on my own. Although we did not know what to expect, I was not ready for what occured.

With all of that said, I have to say that the beauty of our trip was the strength I carried throughout the obstacles and emotions that took a hold of me. What an invigorating feeling!

It was such a great feeling to arrive at our first destination eight hours later. It’s amazing how sore you become …

Once we settled in the cats, we left for a little while, grabbed a few subs and headed to a park to enjoy the outdoors while eating dinner. Gorgeous park.

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It’s hard to believe that tomorrow Jason and I will be arriving ay our new home, a destination we have been talking about for two years. Wow, tomorrow, yes tomorrow, we will be arriving at our new apartment in Kingsport, TN.

Jason’s hard work and long hours put that conversation into motion, that conversation of making a new place our home. 

The drive today and the support Jason showed me while trying to calm my nerves showed me once again why I fall a little more in love with him everyday. Jason truly is a great guy, one that always shows me new adventures.

I am so excited about tomorrow, I just hope that both Leo and I have easier travels.

What adventures will tomorrow bring?