Bucket lists. Everyone has them whether we want to acknowledge it or not. The question is, what’s on yours? All of our lists are different. The reality is that these lists we put together are full of things that we will most likely never do. We just like to have this list of amazing things.
I have a list. In a very unusual turn of events, I will have checked off four items from mine between October 20 and November 19. What?!?!
Run a marathon. This one had only been on my list for about 2 years, but I made it happen and ran Baltimore in 5:52:50. I’m already registered to run Richmond in 2019 and hope to break 5:45 and maybe even break 5:30.
See Toto live in concert. This one has been on my list since I was introduced to their incredible musicianship while I was in college. Last Tuesday, I was able to see them perform in Virginia Beach. I was not disappointed. If you want to see an 11 minute version of ‘Africa’ complete with percussion break down and jam session, click here.
See Hamilton live. Since being introduced to the soundtrack of this musical, I have been anxious to see a live performance. Last night, Beth and I were able to see the Phillip Company (Hamilton names their different touring casts) perform in Durham, NC. All I can say is wow. I am still trying to process the power of that show and will blog about that later. If you have the chance to see it, in New York or anywhere, do it. It is well worth the price of admission.
Take my family to Disney and stay at the Grand Floridian. On November 18, we leave for Disney and will arrive on the 19th. No, I’m not driving from Virginia Beach to Orlando straight through with 2 kids. We are taking this trip for two reasons. With the recent losses we have suffered, we didn’t want to be home for Thanksgiving. Also, this is a trip that was on my mom’s bucket list as well and she never got to do it. We’re doing this trip in her honor and memory.
Now here’s where I want to shift gears a little bit. Bucket list experiences are fantastic. However, they don’t last forever. I trained for the marathon for 6 months and it was over in less than 6 hours. Toto was over in 2 hours and Hamilton was over in just under 3 hours. They were all amazing experiences, but they’re over now.
As I have thought about bucket lists recently, I have come to the conclusion that there are several other ‘bucket list’ items that have far more staying power than the things that I’ve recently done. They also have for more significance than any of these.
I want my girls to grow up never having to doubt that their Daddy loves them. When I read stories of daddies abandoning or abusing their kids, it breaks my heart. Those kids have to live questioning if their father ever loved them. I don’t want that for my girls.
I never want my wife to question my love or my faithfulness to her. Infidelity is rampant in our world. I vowed to my wife and to God that I would remain faithful until death parts us and I intend to keep that vow.
I want to raise my daughters to grow up with a deep love for the Lord. The only way that this is accomplished is if they see me modeling that. When they understand how important my relationship with the Lord is, it is my hope that they will want to have that same kind of relationship with Him.
I want to leave a legacy of living a Christ-like life. When my time on earth is done, I want those who knew me to say that I was a man who lived a Christ-like life. I don’t want people to just say that I was a Christian. In today’s society, that doesn’t always mean much. I want people to see Christ’s love demonstrated in how I live my life, how I treat ALL people, and how I love my family.
Those few items seem simple, but they are far more important than any bucket list experience that I can think of.
Let’s interact. What’s on your bucket list? Do you have a spiritual bucket list as well? Leave responses in the comments.
Often times when we hear that someone is never satisfied, it is in a negative context. We think of someone that is spoiled and no matter how much they get or have, they always want more. That’s not what I’m going to refer to in this particular post.
As you know, about two weeks ago, I completed my first marathon in Baltimore. You can actually check out that story here. Well, I am already signed up for another marathon. I will run Richmond in November of 2019. Who knows? There may be another one before that, but at this point, Richmond is the next full on the schedule.
I post my training runs on my social media platforms. Yes, I’m one of those people, but no, it’s not about bragging for me. It’s about accountability. I want someone to ask me why I haven’t been posting about my runs if they don’t see something for a few days. Since completing Baltimore, I’ve been attaching #neversatisfied to each post. Here’s why.
I don’t want to rest on my laurels and stop training hard just because I achieved the goal of running a marathon. I know that I’ve got a faster marathon in me. As proud as I am of Baltimore, I’m not satisfied with Baltimore. I want to run another, and I want to run it better than I did this one.
When I think about my walk with the Lord, I think it’s important for me to be #neversatisfied there as well. Just having the relationship with Him that I currently have isn’t enough. I want to know Him more. I want to learn more about Him. I want to spend more time in His word. I want to draw closer to Him each and every day. So once again, as illustrated in my sermon, Spiritual Lessons from 26.2, God is using my running to teach me things that are important spiritually.
Are you a believer? If so, I challenge you to be #neversatisfied when it comes to your relationship with God. He wants us to experience the most abundant life possible. Why are we satisfied with just the basics?
If Halloween events aren’t your thing, you may want to simply stop reading here. Then again, if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to go to a park during the Halloween season, this may be interesting and enlightening to you.
I have to admit that prior to last year, I had never done any type of Halloween event anywhere outside of a corn maze (not haunted), so I really didn’t know what to expect. While I had fun last year, my nerves took a beating and I only managed to make it through 2 of 7 haunted houses at Busch Gardens during the 2017 season. That being said, I did have fun, and wanted to come back in 2018 and experience more of the event.
During this year’s event, I was able to attend four times (we make use of our park membership). We visited twice on Sunday, once on a Thursday night, and once on a Friday night. While we found the park to be far less crowded on the Thursday, we also found it to be much more understaffed on Thursday. If you want to see the event at full staff, I would suggest Friday or Saturday (although I’ve been told the Saturday crowds for Howl O Scream are crazy). I only went through any mazes on one of the Sundays we went and in comparison the staffing of that house was much more similar to what we experienced on Thursday, but I have friends who got some good trips through the mazes on a Sunday so the reality is that it’s hit or miss.
For this review, I will break it up into four categories: atmosphere, scare zones (Terror-tories), haunted houses, and shows.
In my opinion, this is where Busch Gardens gets it right even on poorly staffed nights. The park is in a fairly wooded area and they do an amazing job with lighting. They give you just enough to see without giving you so much that you can anticipate what’s ahead. Combine that with the fog that they pump in and the incredible decorations and it’s a winner. Even if you have no desire to do any of the houses, it’s worth it in my opinion just to see the park in this setting.
Much like the mazes, the scare zone experiences are heavily dependent on staffing. What I did discover is that regardless of staffing, the experience of each area didn’t change a whole lot except the chances of interacting with the actors. One of my favorite things about these zones is that most (I did have one refusal in the Fool’s Court area) actors are more than happy to snap a photo with you. Be prepared, they will often try to scare you as soon as you take the picture. Here’s my ranking of this year’s Terror-tories.
Vampire Point – This one wins for two reasons. The actors are incredible and diverse. You are never sure which ones are going to simply startle you by striking up a conversation or which ones are going to really come after you. The costumes and the makeup are also fantastic.
Axe Alley – I love the actors in this area as well. Crazed vikings patrol the New France area of the park. Beware of the hidden bungee scare in this area. It’s fun to just watch that one happen over and over again.
Fool’s Court – This was a new scare zone this year. It’s located in the France section of the park (near Griffon) and replaces the chainsaw wielding characters of Demon Street with creepy Court Jesters. In my opinion, this was an improvement from Demon Street (there’s already a chainsaw themed maze so did we really need a scare zone with them as well?). Most of the actors are great at interacting with guests. I need to give a huge shoutout to one actor in particular who decided to scare my 13 year old daughter by walking up to her and just staring at her for an uncomfortable amount of time. When it had reached the point that Carrie was really freaking out, I didn’t have to say anything. I stepped over to Carrie and just put my arm around her. The actor nodded at me and walked away. I should also use this as a note to parents. If you bring your kids, the actors will try to scare them, but in my experience, if they sense that you as a parent need them to back off, they do so.
Ripper Row – This feels like a low ranking for such a well done scare zone (themed around Jack the Ripper), but the first three were just that good in my opinion. I really like this section of the park. It’s right inside the front gate in England so once again for parents, if you bring your kids in and don’t get them out before 6pm, you can not avoid this particular scare zone. Great theming, solid actors, and incredible costumes make this a really fun area of the park.
Sideshow Square – It goes downhill from here. Last year this was my favorite section of the park. After all, crazy clowns, creepy ring masters…what’s not to love? This year Sideshow Square felt very much like an afterthought (much like Circo Sinistro which we’ll get into in a bit). The scare actors worked in shifts that rotated between clowns and then chainsaw wielding characters. The chainsaws seemed really out of place here although I did get a great photo with one of the actors here.
Garden of Souls – This area was themed around the Mexican festival, Day of the Dead. While this section was probably the prettiest scare zone (a lot of great black light utilization and amazing costumes), it was also the least scary by far. It was a small scare zone which I actually think they could have taken better advantage of and really had actors coming at you from seemingly everywhere. I don’t think we ever encountered more that 4 actors working the zone at once and it was typically only 2 or 3.
Howl O Scream features three full length shows this year and a few other side shows in the park including an opening ceremony where Jack (the events mascot) releases the creatures into the park. We also caught a small side show involving the actors in Vampire Point as well as one in Ripper Row.
Monster Stomp – Located in England this is a musical that tells the story of Jack the Ripper and adds some zombie play into it as well. There are also several elements of the show that will remind you of the off-broadway show Stomp. As a drummer/percussionist, I love this show. My wife also agreed that this was easily the best show in the park.
Night Beats ReVamped – Located in the Festhaus is this Vampire themed musical review. It’s your typical trip through different eras in music. While there’s nothing to write home about with this show, the fact that you can grab a bite and get some entertainment while eating make this worth seeing.
Fiends – Located in Ireland, I want to find something good to say about this show, but I just can’t. This show is marketed and advertised for mature audiences and with good reason. Parents, don’t take the kids and in fact….don’t take yourselves either. I get that this seems to be one of the most popular shows in the park, but it was most definitely not for us.
Now for the really good stuff. Upon leaving the park last night, my wife and I ranked our houses and actually came up with the exact same order. The only disclaimer is that I did not do Cornered this year and she did so it’s ranking is based on her experience this year. Again, from best to worst.
Vault XX – Hands down, head and shoulders above every maze that we did this year. It’s their twenty year anniversary house so it throws multiple scenes from houses past in this maze. I have to admit that Beth and I got one trip through this house completely by ourselves on a night where it was fully staffed so we got every possible scare in the house. That said, even when we saw it not well staffed it was still pretty good. I wish they could find a way to bring it back next year, but I doubt we see Vault again until year 25.
Demented Dimensions – This house was shipped to Williamsburg from Tampa for this year’s event and it was a really strong house. The only way to try to describe the story line is a house was built on top of some type of vortex to another world. What you get in this maze is a lot of random scene changes with a lot of unexpected scares. It’s just a really fun house and I hope it’s back for a second year next year.
Frostbite – After our first trip to HOS this year, I would have never guessed that this maze would rank as high as it is. That first night, it was terribly staffed and honestly just not very good. Every other trip through it was a lot of fun. This is not an incredibly scary maze, but has some decent startle moments. When it’s staffed properly, I really like it. Side note – from our observations, if there were lines for mazes, this one typically seemed to be the longest line. I assume that’s because it’s actually a really good introductory maze for someone who hasn’t done this before.
Dystopia – Of the top four mazes for this year, three of them are new mazes. Dystopia is located in the bottom of Escape from Pompeii. As the name implies it transports you to a post-apocalyptic dystopian world where the leaders are all about brain washing and mind control. The scares here are more about loud noises and some disturbing props although I have to admit that the same actor got me twice in a matter of 10 seconds. While I wish they had done a better job telling the back story before you went inside, it was still a very interesting maze to go through.
Cornered – This is the maze that did me in last year and I didn’t go through it this year although as I sit here typing this review I’m wishing I had. Beth did go through it and said that while it was ok, last year’s version was better because in her experience this year they concentrated the scares to the end of the maze leaving the front half of the maze largely empty.
Lumberhack – this maze is entirely outdoors so the recommendation is to wait until nightfall to do it. Having only done it in the dark, I would actually recommend doing it both at dusk and then again after dark. It’s so dark back in the woods that you don’t really get to see many of the props. On the flip side, it’s so dark that you can’t really see the scare actors in a lot of the areas either. My biggest issue with this maze was its length. I don’t think it took us 2 minutes to walk through it. The scares are what you would expect. You get chased around by chainsaw wielding maniacs. Always a good time.
Circo Sinistro – What an absolute disappointment this maze was. This was the other maze I did last year and I really liked it then. It was just bad this year. Everything from the opening ‘pre-show’ scene to the lack of actors in the maze screamed budget cuts. It was almost the exact same as last year as far as the layout. The only change was they took out the Dollhouse Room (although that room was still on all the signs in the theming area) and traded it out with the Snake Lady room. This room did provide my one startle and the costume there was fantastic, but everything else about this maze just fell flat.
Overall, this was still a very solid year for Howl O Scream in Williamsburg. I’m not remotely naive enough to think that this is an overly scary event, but for someone like me who has never been big on Halloween stuff, it’s a great experience and it has become one of my favorite times to go to the park. Riding roller coasters with no lights on them is another added bonus.
One thing that was advertised that we were never fortunate enough to see happen was getting to ride with scare actors. I know it was random timing so in order to get the experience you had to be lucky, so if you went and got that experience, let me know in the comments.
We already know that unless BGW throws us a curveball that Vault XX will not be returning as a house next year. I would also expect to see one of the following three make an exit: Circo Sinistro, Cornered, or Lumberhack. All three have been around for at least three seasons now and it may be time to change a couple of them out. I would also like to see them go back to spreading the houses out across the park. Five of the seven houses were located in the Oktoberfest section of the park. On our last trip to the park, we literally did 4 of those 5 houses in 45 minutes. I know they weren’t going to close down their new VR attraction in Ireland to do a maze as they’ve done in the past, but maybe next year they can do it again. They also didn’t utilize the area in France that previously housed Catacombs.
We are already looking forward to next year’s version of HOS. Did you go this year? What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree with my observations? Leave some comments.
Lets’ face it. We live in a world that is all about speed. How quickly we can get a task accomplished seems to be the only thing on our minds when engaged in something. I’m equally as guilty. I want to get something done and then move on to the next thing on the to-do list. This doesn’t always work out so well.
Last weekend during our trip to Baltimore, one of the low beam headlights on our car went out. No big deal. Headlights aren’t that tough to change out (unless you have a Honda Accord that requires you to remove the battery to access the drivers side headlamps – been there, done that). So at my earliest convenience I ran into the store to pick up 2 headlights. After all, you’re supposed to change both at the same time (or at least that’s what the ‘experts’ tell you). Here’s where the story gets comical.
I opted to not check out the owners manual before going into the store because the store has the big book of car parts that will help me find the right headlamps. I get to the aisle and someone is already using the book. No worries. I have a smartphone and I know how to use Google. I found the headlight that my trusty internet connection recommended, checked out and drove home to change the bulbs before dark.
I opened the package up and removed the old headlamp to discover that I had made a mistake. I had purchased new high beam headlamps and they wouldn’t even fit into the connector for the low beams. You see, my Google search may have revealed a suitable headlamp for my car, but I wasn’t specific enough in my haste to make sure that I was looking at the proper low beam bulb. To make a long story short, my vehicle now has new high beam AND low beam headlamps.
What’s the point? It’s simple. My haste to just get the job done caused me to make a significant oversight and ultimately doubled the amount of time the it took to get the job done. If I had done the right thing and checked the owner’s manual first, the job would have been over quickly and wouldn’t have involved a second trip to the store.
I can’t deny that life comes at us fast and it often seems to demand that we make snap decisions on everything. Unfortunately, those snap decisions often cost us more than we need to fork over. We have to recognize when we need to take that moment, gather our thoughts, and weigh our options. Don’t let others control your time. If you need to slow down, do it. It’s always better to do something right the first time even if it seems slow going. Doing it incorrectly, but quickly, doesn’t help anyone out in the overall scheme of things.
Keeping it short and sweet today. I want to encourage anyone that reads this to believe in yourself. Dream big. Believe in the impossible. Don’t be held back by your own doubts and fears. At the end of yesterday’s blog, I quoted Philippians 4:13. It says, ‘I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.’ Three and a half years ago I weighed 298 pounds and I wanted nothing to do with running. Today I am a marathoner. I didn’t do it alone, but I did it. You can do it to!
If you’ve followed me for any length of time on here (ok, I haven’t really blogged in a few months), you know that I have had a goal to run a marathon this year. I was supposed to run it last year, but for lack of a better explanation, life happened.
Fast forward to this weekend. Training is complete. Travel plans were made. Off to Baltimore for the 2018 Baltimore Running Festival including the Baltimore Marathon. I chose Baltimore for my marathon attempt for two reasons. First, I wanted to do this in the city I grew up in (technically, I grew up in the suburbs, but no one has heard of my hometown so I adopted Charm City). Secondly, if you remember last year, you will remember that I took a DNF in last year’s Baltimore Half Marathon. I owed that course a little bit of payback.
Beth and I left from Virginia Beach on Friday morning and went straight to the race expo so that we could avoid having to go downtown later in the day when traffic and crowds would be worse. Here’s the obligatory expo pic.
The rest of Friday consisted of paying a quick visit to our friends Jessica and Valerie at Alter Image in Westminster (If you live in the area, check them out. They’re incredible), taking care of a few of the final odds and ends of mom’s affairs, as well as spending some time with my Aunt who is currently fighting the battle with cancer. We also got to have dinner at Glory Days Grill with our good friends Dave and Goldie and their kids too. I’ve made so many trips to Maryland this year without being able to really see anyone so this was a pleasant change. After dinner it was time to check into the hotel and get some sleep. Despite being only 15 minutes from downtown, we still had to be up at 5 to get into the city before many of the streets started to close.
I can honestly say that I slept pretty well despite the nerves. I did however wake up once around midnight and I could literally see my chest moving as my heart would beat. Safe to say I was just a bit amped up. We got up and it was off to Baltimore.
Upon arriving, we met up with several folks from The Extra Mile Podcast who were also running. Duane, Anthony, and myself were tackling the marathon. JD was going to tackle the Half Marathon to complete the King Crab Challenge and Jennifer was there to complete the Moron-a-thon Challenge (5k and Half Marathon). This was our second Extra Mile Meetup in the past 6 weeks (Bird-in-Hand, PA) and it’s always good to meet up with these folks.
The race itself was an incredibly challenging course. The first few miles were almost entirely uphill. The journey takes you to the Maryland Zoo. This opening stretch is probably the prettiest part of the run and while the opening ascent was challenging, I appreciated the fact that it prevented me from going out too fast as I would need every ounce of energy that I could muster.
Still feeling silly
Bird is the word
After leaving the zoo, we began a gentle descent back toward the Inner Harbor. These middle miles were the only reprieve this course was going to offer. My absolute best case scenario goal was 5:30:00. I knew what the back half of the course was (The final 9 miles are shared with the Half Marathon course) so I figured that I needed to reach the 13.1 mark in 2:30 to have a realistic shot. I reached 13.1 in about 2:42. I was technically ahead of pace, but took the 5:30 out of my mind and concentrated on beating the 6:00 mark. Here’s a few more pics from along the course.
One of the best parts of the race itself was getting to share a brief moment with my wife, Beth right just before the half way point. The intent was for her to help me swap out my water bottles and get the nutrition I had prepped for the second half. Unfortunately, neither one of us realized until that moment that the bag containing those items was mistakenly left in the car (that was my mistake – did I mention how hyped up I was that morning?). I would have to rely on the aid stations for the remainder. Getting a quick hug and kiss from her sent me on my way for what was going to become the hardest 13.1 miles of my life. I was even given the blessing of a reminder that she was with me throughout as I passed this house on the streets of Baltimore.
In my training, I figured out that the dark place of a marathon happens somewhere between miles 18-22. You feel like you’re getting close to the end and then your mind will remind you that you still have several miles to go. The seemingly constant uphill climb of miles 14-23 on this course didn’t help. There was one reprieve where we ran around the perimeter of a pond in a park for roughly a mile and a half. After leaving that park we were greeted with yet more uphill running.
I have to admit that I did get somewhat of a boost when around mile 21-22 I started to catch the back of the pack half marathoners (the half started an hour and 45 minutes after the full). I passed the spot where I had to pull out of the half last year and was even more determined to get to that finish line. The last several miles were slower, but they kept counting down. When I saw the 23 mile marker, I knew that it wasn’t a question of if I would finish, but would I get in under the 6 hour mark. At mile 25 I knew that was going to happen too as I had enough time banked that I could have completely walked the last 1.2 miles and made it.
Now for the sappy stuff. This has been an incredibly long journey. My first marathon was supposed to be Richmond in 2017, but thanks to a bout of diverticulitis, that was scrubbed. Almost a year later, the goal was met in Baltimore. It was bittersweet in that when Mom and Dad first heard I wanted to do a marathon they had said they wanted to be at the finish line. Now they’re both gone. As I made the final left hand turn and saw the finish line a quarter of a mile away, I could hear mom yelling ‘Go Baby Go’ and my dad yelling ‘That’s my boy!’ The emotions were indescribable. It was also at this point that I started to have my only cramping issue of the entire race. My calves decided that they wanted to go nuts on the home stretch. I ‘ran’ past Beth about 100 feet before the finish. I crossed the line with my arms up and I broke down. I was happy, proud, sad, and everything in between all at once. I just wanted to hug and hold onto my wife and once I maneuvered my way through runner’s village, I did just that.
I’ve already been asked by several people if I have any intention of doing this again. I don’t know. Truth be told, until my body stops hurting, I probably shouldn’t even try to make that decision. Here’s what I know. I am a marathoner. I am part of the .05% of the American population that has completed a marathon. I completed it not by myself, but with an incredible group of supportive family and friends.
Beth, my love – you tolerated the insanity of marathon training. You stayed awake while I was out on the streets at 4am trying to get as much of my long run done ahead of the summer heat. You sent me texts of encouragement during those runs and during the race as well. You were there at the finish and you held me while I completely broke down.
Mom and Dad – You weren’t there…..but then again, you were there. I don’t know how theologically sound this is, but I have to think that for a few hours yesterday, God allowed you to watch your son do the hardest physical thing he’s ever done and you were cheering me on all the way.
Carrie and Hannah – My baby girls. You may not have been physically there on Saturday, but seeing you on FaceTime just minutes after I finished was a memory that I will cherish forever. Just like your mom, you guys have to put up with the insanity of the training that I put myself through.
Dannice – my mother-in-love – Your encouragement is something that could never be understated. When I started getting your texts at around mile 21, it helped to keep me going. Thanks so much for watching the girls so that Beth could be there with me.
Coach Chris Twiggs – many coaches of your caliber would have given up on me after the events of 2017 derailed my training and ultimately my marathon quest. You didn’t. When I was ready to get back on the horse, you were there encouraging and guiding me through the entire process. THANK YOU!!
The 1,000 Mile Facebook Group – Who would have ever thought that an online community of total strangers could become what we have dubbed #runfamily. I’ve only met one of you in person, but I feel like I know so many of you. You all have been so supportive through the entirety of this journey.
The Extra Mile Podcast – About 2 or 3 years ago I stumbled across this podcast when I was looking for running related podcasts. I never thought that it would bring actual friends into my life. I’ve now run races with several of you and look forward to even more. You guys have always helped me ‘enjoy my extra mile.’
David Geddings – Dude….you convinced this fat boy that I could push myself beyond 5 or 6 miles. You were there when I did my first 8 miler in the soupy heat of Summerville, SC. Even though we no longer are able to run together, I couldn’t begin to thank anyone and leave you out. When you talked me into 8 miles, I thought 13.1 was crazy. Now I’ve completed 6 half marathons and 1 full marathon. Who would have ever thought??
To my readers – thanks for taking a few minutes out of your day to occasionally read my ramblings. The comments, shares, likes, and all that other social media type stuff really mean a lot.
Well, that’s probably more that enough for right now. I could talk for hours about the experience of yesterday, but I’ll spare you that.
Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.
Here I am. I’m back on the blog. This was definitely not the way I expected to dive back into the blogosphere, but if you’ve followed this blog in the past, you know that I have always written from my heart. Tonight is no different.
Hurricane Florence is currently putting the east coast of the U.S. in it’s sights. We live ever so slightly to the north of where it seems to be headed. That’s not a good thing. Right now, they are anticipating us dealing with tropical storm force winds, heavy rain and flooding. No fun at all.
Here’s the thing. We are constantly monitoring and evaluating what we should do. If nothing changes, our current plan is to ride it out. This is what has made today one of those days.
This is the first major event to happen in my life since the loss of my parents. Dad passed away on 7/12/17 and Mom passed away on 3/15/18. Typically when facing something like this, my first reaction would be to reach out for my phone and call my Dad to get his counsel. Should we leave? How do I attempt to properly secure our house? Can we crash at your place if we do leave? I couldn’t do that tonight and it just about killed me.
I had heard people say that when you lose your parents you feel like an orphan and until March of this year, I never could quite wrap my head around that. Mom and Dad were there for me at every stage of life. Even when we disagreed, I never doubted their love and concern for me. To suddenly not be able to go where you always go for counsel is a kick in the gut. You feel alone in that moment, and it sucks.
I also need to say that I have the most amazing wife and children that anyone could ask for. They have been such a strong support for me over this past year and I never want to short change how much they mean to me. But there’s something different about being able to ask your parents for advice.
Why do I say all of this? I don’t know, really. Maybe it’s my way of encouraging those of you who still have your parents to not take a single moment with them for granted. You never know when you will have your last conversation with them.