A friend of mine gave me these bracelets a few months back, to remind me of the things I          need to preserve within myself.  I usually wear one that matches whatever I’m wearing — today, I’m wearing them all!

A year ago today my life took a dramatic turn when my marriage fell apart. All the hopes and dreams we had were dashed. The plans we had made together were gone. I was alone, cold, frightened, and frankly, right on the edge of the darkest places the human mind can go.

I mourned and grieved the loss of my wife, my marriage, and especially my happiness. My health was affected (physical and mental). My view of life was always tinged with grayish black around the edges. I cried. I spent many a sleepless night wondering where tomorrow would take me. I was lost.

I lost some friends (and a family member) over the whole thing. But I gained new friends and was reminded time and again that I already had good friends and family members who spent a lot of time holding me up when all I wanted to do was lay in bed with the covers over my head.

I took on a part-time job in order to both make ends meet, and keep myself busy. I care for an 80-year-old woman with dementia. That experience has taught me things about myself that I never knew. Through her I was able to find a way to make peace with my own mother, with whom I never had a good relationship. There was a reason this woman was sent to me.

I am a different person today, forever changed by the events of the past year. Most importantly, I survived — I honestly didn’t think that would happen. But it’s not enough to just survive, and now I am working on thriving. We’re still haggling over stupid things in the divorce and it seems as though resolution is a long way off, but I’m in a healthy place with all of it. My sense of humor is intact and the colors of the world are more vivid these days. In my mind, this is the best revenge I can exact for my wife’s infidelity and destruction of our marriage — to be happy, healthy, and thrive.

If you’re reading this status this morning, it’s because I have chosen to keep you in my life for some reason, or because you have come into my life since that day a year ago and have brought me love, friendship and support in ways that I cannot begin to describe and truly thank all of you for. My sister Tammy and my son Joe Awsum were the two biggest factors in my survival. Tammy with her bossy determination, and Joe with his quiet strength. I owe both of you so much but can only tell you that I love you so much!

Today, I break free from the bonds of the past year. Today, and each new today that life brings me, I’m alive, I’m happy, I’m surviving, and am thriving. I’m starting my own parade!

Take that, Lisa!