Signs - they are everywhere

Stopping to smell the roses is more than just an old saying - it is a reminder to slow down and pay attention
to the signs all around you. In a rushed society where everyone is trying to stay one step ahead, taking time to slow down and evaluate where you are is becoming a lost art.

For the past 8 years I too have been speeding by the signs and not only was it once again starting to affect my health but some dreams and goals I've had since breaking free from abuse were being left behind in my hurried rush to what I thought was staying afloat.

This past weekend I took a walk down memory lane. Chatted with old friends on Facebook about it, remembering some fun times in my youth. Next thing I knew I started searching out people I once knew. Old friends and even an old boyfriend. I don't believe I was ready for some of things I found out - damn my reporter's research skills!

I did a search for an old boyfriend I had dated before dating the man I would be married to for 18 years - the very same man who catapulted my life into the life of a survivor when our marriage came to a violent end almost 8 years ago.

So there I am wondering whatever happened to John - that beautiful Italian young man I dated. I giggled as I searched him out - I was remembering a bar fight that once happened over me (silly memory, I know). This was the night I met John. I was there with my friend, Carla and he was there with a group. Carla and I never really drank much we just liked to hang out and play darts while being among friends.

On this night I was getting some very unwanted attention from a rather intoxicated man. To put it bluntly, the jerk would not leave me alone. The word "NO" meant nothing to him.  John was with a group of friends of which I knew a few of...they came to my rescue and intervened. Next thing I knew a bar fight ensued, and I was basically crawling away from the action wondering just what in the hell just happened.

The drunk jerk was unwillingly thrown out and John was now focusing his attention on getting to know me.

And that is how I met John.

Soon I would learn that while John had many great qualities he also had an issue with drugs - more than an issue.  You wouldn't know it meeting him - he held a full time job and was highly intelligent and functioning well - or so I thought.

He told me he needed me to help him, and yes, I was in that cycle of co-dependency, and I believed him. After all, he was now my hero.  Twisted, huh?

So there we were...John the addict, and me, the clean and sober caretaker.

John tried over and over to free himself from the addiction but couldn't - our relationship was short lived...somewhere in me I knew it was going nowhere -

Over the years I've wondered about John. Hoping that he was living a clean existence.

Sadly -  I would find that was not the case. John died a few years ago at the young age of 47. I am not sure how he did, but I get the feeling he took his own life. I especially thought that after reading an article from the mid 1990s where John was the focus.

At the time he was married and had small children. His wife, according to the article, had just left him and she took the children. John didn't react well to that and threatened suicide. The police were called, there was a standoff....16 hours of a standoff if I remember right, and the tactical team pelleted the house with smoke bombs and other irritants. John held his ground until the house caught on fire and only then they say he jumped out of a 2nd floor window. He survived the jump and was arrested

As I read this my mouth literally dropped to the ground. I was speechless. On one hand I was saddened by the news, and then on the other hand thankful my time with John was short lived. Twenty-five years ago my reaction may have been different in that I would have thought I could have saved him...I know better now. I do hope he has found peace.

I can remember one time when my now ex and John met. It was back in the late 80s and when I first started dating my now ex husband. John came up to him at a picnic and told him to take care of me - "Take care of Eva, she's a good girl." he said. Well, that didn't happen!

Remembering all these stories of my past with the eyes of a survivor rather than a victim I can see just how far I've come. I can also see just how vulnerable I was back then. I was a good girl - innocent and was searching out love in all the wrong places. I was a wounded child in a woman's body.

While I may not be proud of these experiences I can honestly say all the steps of my life have made me the person I am today. For this I am thankful. Today I value the reflection in the mirror. It has been a long road to get to that point, but it all has been for a reason.

It was after that trip down memory lane this past weekend that I decided it is time to follow a dream I've had since being on the path of surviving and living graciously not only tell my story but the stories of others like me who are using their past to create better tomorrows for future generations.

It is all about hope -giving hope to those who can't yet see the tomorrows. And maybe that seed will plant and grow so that others can break free from whatever shackles them to despair.

The signs are everywhere and this time I am listening to them -  so, please take a look at my project and if you can help me out with it - Thank you!

My project <--give a="" click="" font="">


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