More than a month ago

It’s hard to believe I returned to Southwest Florida more than a month ago. I have spent a great deal of time with family and friends since returning, something that was hard to live without for almost two years.

One of my new favorite routines happens every Saturday. I spend the week looking forward to my early start that morning.

In an effort to train for my third 5K race, which took place on Memorial Day, I ran with my mother and younger sister Maureen, who were also participating in the race with me. I was so excited to recruit two people to run with me, especially since it was Mom and Maureen’s first race. I’m happy to say I beat my best race time by more than three minutes that morning even in the awful heat. Mom and Maureen finished before me making their first race a memorable one. Although we did not cross the finish line at the same time, it was encouraging to know that they were running the same race with me. I kept my pace going and am happy to say I finally ran the entire 3.1 miles without stopping, making it truly an awesome achievement.

Every Saturday, we meet at Maureen’s house to run along McGregor. I still cannot put into words how much that first run meant to me. I have spent the majority of my time running by myself, or with my puppy Lucy. To run with other people, well it felt incredible, even if we all are not running at the same speed. Even though the race is over, we still meet every Saturday morning. Yes, it’s still a highlight of my week. This past Saturday as I pulled up to Maureen’s house, I saw Dad standing with Mom and Maureen, which made me smile. Our running group is expanding . . . I love spending that time with family first thing in the morning.

As I sit here and reflect on some of the highlights of my time back in Southwest Florida, a trying time, a time that kept me apart from Jason for 47 days already seems like a lifetime ago. I smile when I look back. I smile because of the strength we both had during the time he was in Fort Myers and I was in Kingsport. I smile because that is now a distant memory.

The best feeling in the world is being in the same state, the same city and living under the same roof again. Now we are back to our old routines, some that I love and will never grow tired of . . . a kiss before he leaves for work that is accompanied by have a great day.

I am now a firm believer that the heart grows fonder when you are away from your loved one. I have seen a new side of Jason that I cherish since returning. Our relationship is stronger than before. Jason’s affection and expression of how he feels comes more often making me feel even more loved.

For the first time in a longtime, I really feel like I am home. That feeling is not just because I am living in the area where I grew up surrounded by friends and family, but I am living my dream once again.

As a freelance writer, there is good and bad. I absolutely love the freedom of making my own schedule. I enjoy working from my home having the luxury of walking into my kitchen to grab a snack or cook lunch. I also love having the opportunity to be in the same vicinity as my one year old puppy.

What I was lacking did not show its presence until I moved back to the Fort Myers/Cape Coral area.

I am now spending more time out in the community, interviewing people face-to-face, making my passion for writing truly surface once again. There’s something special about living in the same community in which you work. I did not know how much I missed that interaction until the first assignment my editor gave me took me out into the community.

My passion is in full force again. My passion of writing has taken on another dimension.

Our move back to Southwest Florida was one of the best decisions we have made, especially because of the opportunities that we have found. Jason and I continue to grow as a couple, I’m writing more for editors I truly love working for, I’m spending my weekends with Mom once again and my best friend is only 30-minutes down the road.

Although our lives have been enriched with so much beauty here, I still find myself thinking of Tennessee. I miss the mountains. This past week it hit me pretty hard. Oh, how I miss the pure beauty of that state.

The hiking, getting lost in the woods, is what I miss the most. The clarity the hills and mountains gave me was truly special.

Flood of memories

Flood of memories

A flood of memories took hold this morning after Lucy and I went to Bays Mountain. The first adventure Jason, Lisa and I had after we arrived in Kingsport almost two years ago.

This morning I needed more than just a run. I needed to get lost in the woods for a little while. So around 11, we started getting ready to go for a hike.

As soon as we arrived I spotted a chipmunk, which I haven’t seen since one of the first times we went hiking at Bays Mountain. The best part was Lucy had no idea what I was looking at, so I was able to capture a shot. A picture with food in his mouth.

I knew it was going to be a great hike after that.

chipmunk

We first headed to the spot where that adventure took place. That adventure almost two years ago. An adventure that led us to a waterfall.

waterfall 3As soon as I heard the noise I became emotional. As soon as I stepped out near the top of the waterfall memories came flooding back.

I felt Jason with me . . . wishing he was beside me instead of hundreds of miles away.

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waterfall 1All of my memories from that day in May 2013 consumed me as I found a rock to sit on and take in the scenery. We had so much fun that afternoon exploring the outdoors of our new home.

IMG_3141 editWe created so many of our own little adventures that day. So many adventures that made me begin to beat my fear of heights, all with the help of Jason by my side.

The laughter filled my veins as I looked around, really looked around, and remembered the fun we had that afternoon.

IMG_3144 editI sat there on that rock for as long as Lucy let me.

IMG_3145 editFor as long as she allowed me to listen to the rushing water while sorting through my thoughts.

IMG_3146 editOf course those thoughts began tugging at the tears I somehow managed to prevent from falling. Happy tears. Happy tears of how far Jason and I have come since that day. Since that first adventure.

IMG_3151 editLucy finally had enough, so with a heavy heart we kept on hiking.

There was a smile on my face from that moment on, especially when the flood of memories continued of everything Jason and I have seen since we moved to Kingsport in May 2013. The smile was because a relationship that was already strong when me made that move together, has only grown leaps and bounds since then. That smile was because I have the heart of a man who will do anything to make me happy. This time a part has proven that on so many levels.

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IMG_3171 editThe further we hiked the Lakeside Trail the deeper in thought I became. There is just something about the outdoors that fully allows your mind to wander. Although I was deep in thought, the noises of the outdoors still captured me, as well as the beauty that lined the trails.

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IMG_3176 editI’m so glad I had Lucy with me. She brought me back into the moment as she too enjoyed the outdoors.

As always, here’s our hike through Lucy’s eyes.

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One of my hopes before leaving the house this morning was spotting signs of spring. I was so excited when I saw a tree along the water that was showing life again. The only tree along the path we decided to hike.

My trip was complete. I’ve been excited about spring all winter. It is one of my favorite seasons. There’s something special about watching nature come back to life.

spring 5

spring 4

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spring 1

spring 2It’s hard to believe that tomorrow marks two weeks since Jason packed his car and headed to Florida to get us ready for our move. A move that would bring us closer to family and friends.

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss Jason. There is not a day that goes by that I wish he was here with me, or I was there with him.

This transition period, however has shown me what I am capable of . . . what kind of strength I have. I have become independent on a level that has made me proud. A level of independence that has shown me I am much stronger than I have ever thought or gave myself credit for.

Today was a great day. A day that made me think of all the beautiful moments Jason and I have shared since moving to NE Tennessee.

Bittersweet

Bittersweet

The last two days I have been stuck in doors because of the rain. So, this morning after a good night’s sleep, Lucy and I headed to the Greenbelt.

The weather was gorgeous with temperatures climbing into the 50’s. There was not a cloud in the sky. It was the perfect morning to go for a 3.21-mile run.

As Lucy and I ran our old route, emotions were definitely tugging at me as I took in the scenery for all it was worth. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye to the pure beauty of Northeast Tennessee.

This place will forever stay in my heart.

This area has given me a sense of peace that I cannot fully explain.

It’s definitely bittersweet.

So, half way through our run, we stopped, so Lucy could go to the bathroom, and I could enjoy one of my favorite places on the Greenbelt . . . a waterfall that was flowing pretty good today.

20150315_113227 editThis is one of my favorite sounds. The rushing of the water, the cascading of water down the rocks. The sound, and sight, pulls you in, clearing your thoughts, giving you a sense of clarity, all while mesmerizing you making it hard to look away.

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Although I know I will find a new favorite spot to run in Fort Myers with Lucy, I’m truly going to miss my home-away-from-home.

It’s my go to place, my therapy, my path that cures all stress.

I’m so happy Jason and I decided to move to Kingsport almost two years ago. It was a move that brought us closer as a couple. A move that gave us a deeper appreciation for the outdoors.

Our run this morning was so good for my soul. It gave me the clarity I needed once again to get through this time Jason and I are spending a part. Time that neither of us want to spend a part . . .

As always, here’s a glimpse of the Greenbelt through Lucy’s eyes.

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Lucy

 

One day down . . .

One day down . . .

One day down . . . . hard to say how many more to go.

So far today no tears have been shed. This alone is a huge accomplishment. Yes, I’m a very emotional person, so when you add a an experience like yesterday into the mix . . . well . . .

For no reason at all, and at the most bizarre moments, tears fell freely yesterday.

They started because of text messages exchanged between friends and family, Facebook comments from friends sharing their experiences or simply just looking at one of my favorite photographs of Jason and I. Those tears made sense.

The trip to the bank, on the other hand, took me by surprise.

Yesterday after leaving the bank, I was driving down the road, a road I travel quite frequently, when all of a sudden they started falling. Within a couple of minutes the tears stopped, although the thoughts about Jason and I carried on.

Jason and I

The best part about my day was when Jason made it to Fort Myers and the text messages were being exchanged more frequently. He was so good about calling or sending me a text message every time he stopped letting me know where he was, how he was doing and how much further he had to go.

Although I knew he was going to be okay on the drive, it’s my nature to worry. So when I got the text that he is now in his parents driveway, the weight on my shoulders, which I didn’t know existed, became lighter.

There were a string of text messages that had me laughing out loud when he started explaining why he couldn’t fall asleep. I could hear him, I could sense the laughter as he was typing the words. The best part about these messages is they appeared right before a board meeting I had to cover last night. Those messages lifted my spirits, giving me the strength to smile and put my emotions on hold for the duration of the meeting.

From that point on I felt my mood change. I felt a little lighter. Jason did it once again and he’s hundreds of miles away. Jason lifted my spirits. With those simple goofy texts he reminded me that we are going to be okay. I still have the love, support and humor of a man . . . I just don’t have him right next to me.

After I returned from my meeting, before going to bed, my breathing and mood returned to its normal state. I talked to Jason. I heard his voice, his reassurance, his love.

I had to share how much of an impact that phone call had on me, so I took a picture of Lucy, my puppy and I, and sent it to Jason. My smile was genuine, big as always, to show Jason we will get through this.

I didn’t cry myself to sleep, like I did that morning after he left.

Before I drifted to sleep on his side of the bed, I remember my thoughts turning from how much I miss him already, to this is only temporary, we will be together soon.

This morning I woke to a text message from Jason sharing his thoughts on the picture I sent, which were followed by more messages and a phone call. Yep, hearing his voice put me on track . . . I already finished a few articles this morning and turned them into my editor.

When you share the kind of love and support that Jason and I share, you can overcome any obstacle you are faced with.

My spirits are high, which I know is giving Jason the positive energy he needs to accomplish our plans and goals.


Here are the two blogs that explain how we got to this point . . .

An extremely hard decision: March 6, 2015 : https://meghan80.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/an-extremely-hard-decision/

 

Flowing freely: March 9, 2015: https://meghan80.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/flowing-freely/

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/

An extremely hard decision

An extremely hard decision

The life as we know it in Kingsport was shaken pretty hard on Wednesday, which resulted in a quick action plan. An action plan that left us both in tears as the discussions began.

After dropping Jason off at work on Wednesday, I came back home and began writing one of the many articles I had to turn in to meet deadlines.

As I was working, my cell phone rang a little after 11 a.m. as Jason’s face filled my screen. After saying hello, he said I have to call you right back. My phone rang again a few seconds later only to hear, I’m walking home, come pick me up.

I threw on my shoes, grabbed my purse and was out the door. I’ve had phone calls like this in the past.

Within minutes Jason came into view on the side of the road walking. I stopped in the middle of the road, knowing the cars behind me were far enough away. Jason got in the car. I asked him if everything was okay. He replied “No. I don’t want to talk about it.”

The ride home was pretty quiet, as my thoughts shot in every direction of what could have happened. When we got home, we both got out of the car. Jason came around to my side and said “I know you mean well, just give me some time.”

I respected his wishes, knowing he would share once he settled down.

Well, that all changed when he walked into my office and asked how much we still owe on his car. After I looked it up for him, I asked, what’s going on?

That’s when the events of the morning unfolded and I learned that Jason’s boss told him to leave for reasons I think are absurd.

My response of course was if he can unravel and get that nasty that quickly, I don’t want you working for him anymore. You’re done babe.

I worked for his boss for a little while creating labels for him for cheese and bread. The beginning of our working relationship was nice. Towards the end, I started to not care for him anymore. So, I finished all the work he had given me, provided him with the files and wiped my hands of the whole situation.

After Jason contacted a few people he knows in the area asking if they had work or if they know of anyone looking for help, we decided it was time for a major change.

That change, like I said, shook us pretty good.

That change . . . well, we knew deep down, was in the cards.

That change we both knew would allow us to breathe a little more. That decision would take an incredible amount of weight off our shoulders.

That change, like I said had the tears flowing quite frequently.

That change . . . another move.

It’s time to leave Kingsport and head back to an economy that is striving . . . Fort Myers where our family and friends are.

On May 1, it would have marked two years since we moved to Tennessee from Fort Myers. Almost two years of trying to make it work in an economy that does not offer any assistance to stay afloat with the little wages provided.

I am so proud of us for giving this new home of ours more than 100 percent. We gave this place a lot of blood, sweat and tears trying to stay afloat, trying to make a living.

Sometimes you just have to know when it’s time . . . when it’s time to cut your losses and start again somewhere new. When it’s time to come up for air and breathe a little easier.

We found a new kind of beauty. We found a new sense of peace. We found a passion we enjoy together . . . hiking and enjoying the outdoors for all it has to offer.

All of those findings happened here in Kingsport and surrounding areas. This move has made us stronger as individuals and as a couple. The amount of love I have for this man grew leaps and bounds since we made this move together to NE Tennessee.

This is only part of the reason I was a ball of emotions.

Yes, although financially we have struggled for way too long, I am going to miss the mountains, the pure beauty of this state. I am going to miss the seasons.

I am going to miss the beauty of this area.

So, our decision was made. We were saying goodbye to Tennessee, which meant a new plan was in place.

Jason was offered two jobs on Sanibel at two restaurants he worked at before we left Florida. Two jobs that are available to him just as soon as he could make his way back to Florida.

Yep, bring on another round of tears . . .

After long, hard discussions and weighing all of our options, the plan that’s in place has my emotions at an all time high. Has Jason’s at an all time high.

I’ll be completely honest. Every time I think of Monday morning the tears begin to form. Anxiety I have not felt since we first moved here is in full swing. With that said, today’s been the first day I have had an easier time breathing.

Monday morning Jason’s hitting the road to head to Florida and start working at the jobs he was offered. Monday morning I will be saying “see you soon” to the love of my life as I stay here in Kingsport and he travels hundreds of miles south.

This was such a hard decision. A decision we both were not too keen on making. A decision we still are not too keen on making. A decision, unfortunately we both know is in our best interest.

My wish is that the time frame we have predicted will be much shorter than we anticipate. A time frame that will bring Jason back to me quicker, so we can pack up our house and get on the road and make our home in Fort Myers once again.

I know Monday is going to be incredibly hard. But, I know our relationship is so strong that we will give each other the strength we need to make this all work. The strength we need to get through us being  a part.

I have so much respect for this man. So much love. He is my dream guy. He is the guy that will move mountains to make things work. He is such a hard working person, such a determined person. I know I will always be okay because I have him by my side.

I cannot wait to join him in Fort Myers and be surrounded by my family once again. I cannot wait to give Dorene a hug and have my best friend within 30 minutes from me.

I know this is the right thing for us to do.

I just hope what the immediate future has to hold will be easier than my brain is telling me.

Meant to be

From 1999 to 2009 we went our separate ways, which at one point included a distance that stretched from Australia to Arizona  . . . Relationships with others came to a hault, which brought us both back to Fort Myers.

With only minutes separating us, a lunch finally reunited us. A lunch with my best friend, a man who I missed tremendously, but didn’t know the full extent until I saw his smiling face. His smile filled his truck and years of memories flooded my thoughts.

Sometimes our journeys don’t go as planned. But for me, my journey led me back to the one that has shown me more than I could have ever imagined.

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Sometimes these thoughts come at the most random moments.

This September we will celebrate five years of sharing our lives. There have been so many wonderful moments created in this time span. Some trying moments, that now looking back have only made us stronger as a couple.

Life has been a beautiful adventure since Jason entered my life again.