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This past weekend was a exploration of the bitterness and sweetness of life for me. 

As I mentioned on my “About” page, until recently I spent a lot of time hiding from the demons of my past.  The end result of this was a self-imposed estrangement from my family for about ten years.  Now, I know that many of my readers are gasping at this and asking how I could do such a thing.  You aren’t going to say anything to me or condemn me in any way that I haven’t already done myself countless times.  My mistakes in this matter cost me ten years with my family, and more.

However, I have recently begun the process of trying to repair these issues.  I have reconnected with my family and have slowly begun repairing what damage I can.

Recently my wife gave me tickets to see the Carolina Panthers (my team) play the Philadelphia Eagles (her team) on the opening weekend of the NFL season.  The game was this past weekend in Charlotte.  During our time in Charlotte, we decided to check out some of our old haunts and try to reconnect with my family where we could.

Thus, began out trip, and my exploration of both the bitter and sweet.

Our first stop in North Carolina was the most bitter, and most painful.  I learned recently that, during my exile, my mother had passed away.  The news was very difficult for me for a variety of reasons, but the biggest one was that I would never be able to make amends with her, tell her I was sorry, or tell her that, in spite of my behavior, I loved her very much.  On our way down, my wife and I stopped so I could visit her.  It was a painful feeling, and I cried a lot of tears.  Even now, there’s a hollowness in me that I’m not sure will ever truly go away.  Thank God for my loving wife, who gave me space when I needed to say my goodbyes, and held me close when I needed to weep.

Later that night, after driving around seeing some of the places which were part of our lives while in Charlotte, we met my brother and his new family for dinner.  I felt a great deal of trepidation about this dinner, as I hadn’t seen him in some time and we are known to have had some nasty dust ups in the past.

It was, however, a wonderful evening that allowed me to begin the process of reconnecting with family.  It also gave me the chance to meet his lovely wife Amy and adorable son Andrew.

This was definitely some of the sweet of the trip.

The next day was the game.  It is a rare treat to see an NFL game live with the price of tickets being what they are.  It is an even rarer treat to get to see my team since they are all the way down in North Carolina.  But, this was my team, at home, against my wife’s team, on opening day.  You couldn’t ask for better than that.

It was a beautiful day.  And I got to spend it watching my Panthers drive down field on their first possesion and score.  I was definitely feeling the sweetness as they clicked like a well-oiled machine.

Then the bitterness came.

Well, I’ll be eating crow for a while after all my trash talking, but it was still a blast going to the game.

I guess I was reminded of one of life’s great lessons this week.  You can’t have the sweet without the bitter.  But, at least you don’t have to face the bitter alone if you’re lucky.

And I am truly blessed.


One Comment

  1. I just wanted to say that I am sorry for your loss. I know what it is like to lose a loved one and not have the oppertunity to say I love you.

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