Day-Dates, Reclamation, & Courage and Strength

On Saturday, my wife and I took a drive over to Easton, MD and had lunch at one of our favorite Italian restaurants, Scossa. We ate lunch outside, despite it being 48 degrees. Admittedly, it is a bit odd to eat lunch outside in January wearing our winter coats, but it’s as close as we are coming to normal right now.

Yesterday, we met my brother and his wife and son for a walk at Cromwell Valley Park, north of Baltimore. We did a two mile walk and found an old rusted out car chassis. The engine block was an in-line six. The markings on the block suggest that it was a Chevrolet built in 1948 or 1948. Nature is at work reclaiming the natural materials that were used to build that car. It may take hundreds of years but nature always wins.

Today, I’m thinking about Martin Luther King, Jr. Our own African American pastor spoke about Dr. King eloquently yesterday and shard a recording of Dr. King speaking about his kitchen table experience in 1956, in which he talks about receiving a call around midnight with an ugly death threat, and finding the strength and courage to continue with his mission by calling on his God. My heart aches at the fact that we are still wrestling with white supremacy in this country, but I know that “the arc of the moral universe is long and bends toward justice.”

I am grateful for the day-date with my wife on Saturday, it was time together that was much needed. I’m grateful for the time with my brother on our walk yesterday, and nature’s gentle reminder that she always wins. And I’m grateful for the courage and strength of leaders which inspires me to be brave and strong.

Joy; Unbridled — Thoughts on My Higher Purpose During the Coronavirus Pandemic

As the pandemic reaches the seventh month here in the United States, and our death toll continues to climb — in part due to mismanagement and disinformation on the part of the highest levels of our federal government — we are assaulted by science denial and lies on a daily basis. We watch as the President intentionally sows distrust of the electoral process, spreads baseless conspiracy theories, and has calls for his cult like followers to actively participate in voter intimidation at the polls, as it becomes more and more likely that he will lose the election.

We are, rightfully, wary of our fellow humans — no one knows who is infected or who has been exposed. Most of us wear masks, but some refuse to do so — I don’t believe in hell, but if I did, I’d be sure that there is a special place in hell for these people. For those of us who are practicing sanity, we have forgotten what life without masks looks and feels like. We don’t see other people smile.

For many of us, life has taken on a tone of monotony, as if we are living the movie, Groundhog Day, were we are going through the motions and every day feels the same. Blendsday — waking up on Saturday often leads to a moment of confusion about what I have to do for work, only to realize that it is the weekend.

But having the weekend has become small comfort — we can’t really do the things we’d normally do on the weekends like gather with friends and family. Put simply, life doesn’t feel much like the life in the land of the free and the home of the brave lately. It feels dysfunctional because it is dysfunctional. We aren’t living through a time that simple feels dystopian, our time has actually become dystopian in many ways.

This weekend has been different. My son’s scout troop went on it’s first camping trip since COVID started. Things were different on this trip. Each boy slept in his own tent. The adults prepared all the meals. We wore masks all day and gloves during meal prep. We used disposable plates, cups, and flatware. We camped on private land rather than at a campsite — the county parks are still closed to overnight camping and all the state parks are booked.

And yet, it was a change in homeostasis. We were outside. We were together. Doing things. Building fire pits and fires. Boys learning to use tools like axes and saws. Tug of war. Ultimate frisbee.

It was clearly not Blendsday.

Yesterday, in the middle of the day as I was prepping and serving lunch to middle school and teenage boys, I felt something in my chest. A peculiar sensation.

Buzzing. Tingling. Warmth. Excitement.

Moments of joy have been few and far between for so long I almost didn’t recognize it. I mean, I literally felt the feelings in my chest and wondered what was going on. As I made another sandwich, I took inventory of the rest of my body. It was only when I recognized that I was actually smiling under my mask that I could name it.

Joy; Unbridled.

It was a feeling brought on by doing the next right thing. In this case, being a responsible father, serving young men, being a role model for them, and knowing I was making a difference.

One of the other fathers said it best while we were lounging around a fire mid-day yesterday day, “I needed this.” He was referring to being out in the woods, the fresh air, the petrichor of the forest floor after a passing shower, and the physical activities of camping.

And while I needed all of that, it was not just the experience of getting out in the wilderness that brought on joy. My higher purpose in life was being fully actualized in the moment. That’s what life is all about. That’s how we get through the dystopia.

Courage, Rebellion, and a Universe that has Your Back

Something that isn’t talked about enough in the rooms of the recovery community — courage. It takes courage to admit that we have a problem. It takes courage to ask for help. It takes courage to leave behind old habits and old coping mechanisms. It takes courage to get honest with ourselves and others. It takes courage to get sober or get clean.

In some ways, getting sober is a radical act. I mean, one day I was drinking to excess and the next day I made a decision not to drink. And while we use the one day at a time mantra, I knew that I was making a life decision. I knew that I was making a commitment not just fit the day, not just for the foreseeable future, but really for every day of the rest of my life. I knew that in my core.

Getting sober was an act of protest against the substance that had been my tyrant for so long. An act of rebellion. I put my foot down and said, “Enough! I can’t live like this anymore!”

But I didn’t do this on my own. I needed help. I needed people to show me the way. I needed people to lean on. People to call when things got rough. Because, let’s face it, rebellion is a hard road. There are times when we need support. A kind face. An open mind. Someone to listen. Someone to hear. Simone to cry with.

Last Monday, I had one of those hard days. Things went off the rails with my son. I lost my temper. I was angry and escalating the situation — it’s telling that a week later I can’t even recall what the argument was about. And the I paused. I took a breath and left the Hoise for a walk, right after setting dinner in the table.

I went for a long walk and was contemplating the concept of a higher power. Contemplating how the God of my childhood had been a failure and how I had let that go. I was thinking about the mystery of the universe, and thinking about how things always seem to work out. My faith in things getting better is definitely part of my higher power.

The universe has your back.

The thought crossed my mind, just as I was looking at the liquor store where I’d been a regular customer. I kept walking, down an old rails to trails path in my town when I came upon two friendly faces from the rooms sitting outside a local coffee shop.

“How’s it going?”

“Shitty,” I said as I pulled up a chair.

We talked briefly and it felt good to let it out. There was something cathartic about talking about my feelings and frustrations, if only for five minutes. I said I needed to be going and that I was planning to go to a meeting that night.

Both men got up and gave me a hug. Hugs have been sparse in this COVID-19 world and while I’ll admit that they felt damn good, I also felt guilty for accepting them, and vaguely worried that I’d unknowingly exposed myself to the virus.

But, mostly I felt good. Even courageous and rebellious people in recovery need hugs and support.

The universe has your back.

Grateful for Technology

Since March, I haven’t been to an in person 12 Step meeting. I’ve been to meetings, just not in person. And really, at this point even as we’ve had in person meetings open back up and some have gone to a hybrid mode (in person and zoom at the same time), I have no intention of going back for the foreseeable future. Not because I don’t need meetings, I do, but because I am not quite ready to go sit in a room with other people in recovery who may or may not be taking this pandemic seriously.

On a relatively frequent basis, the topic of how bad Zoom meetings are comes up.

“They aren’t the same.”

“I don’t feel like I get much out of them.”

“I miss actual contact. Physical hugs.”

I get it. Zoom meetings are not the same as in person meetings.

I’ve spent the past 23 years either directly building the internet, or helping people build the internet. I remember in the late nineties when a friend of mine asked me, “Do you ever think we’ll see video delivered over the internet?” I answered no, that it was too slow. And in 1996, it was. A 33.6 Kbps connection was blazing fast for a home user. I had no idea what I’d see over the next 10 years.

Broadband exploded in the early 2000’s and people started having fast connections at home. Technology improved exponentially and as connections got faster, we started streaming music and video over the internet. In 2007, the iPhone was introduced and the world was revolutionized. Suddenly we had portable screens with us at all hours of the day. Phone plans changed from talk time minutes to megabytes and gigabytes of data per month. In 2011, FaceTime made it’s debut.

And for all of that, I was still using conference calls for most of my business as late as 2017. In fact, it wasn’t until I joined my current company that I started to use video conferencing regularly. That was in 2017.

So, lets put some perspective on this whole Zoom thing in the pandemic. We are blessed, absolutely blessed, to have Zoom in this pandemic. As I said, I’ve been in the industry for 23 years and I only started using video conferencing from my home a few years ago.

While we may not have flying cars, this is some real George Jetson shit. If this pandemic had happened only a few short years ago, we would be in quite a pickle. We wouldn’t be getting on Zoom calls to complain about how they are not the same as in person meetings.

Look, I hate Zoom at this point. I use it all damn day for my job. I haven’t been to see a customer since March 12th and I don’t expect to make an in person sales call for the rest of 2020. The last thing I want to do in the evening is get on a Zoom call.

But when I said I wanted to get sober, I was asked if I was willing to to go any length to get there. So, I get on the calls.

Are they perfect? Not in the least. But I’ll take them over sitting around in a room with people who, lets face it, don’t always have the best track records with personal hygiene and health.

I recognize that I am privileged. I recognize that there are people who need in person meetings because they don’t have access to technology.

I am grateful for the technology and for my privilege. I think those of us in recovery who have these privileges, owe it to ourselves and to those less fortunate to be grateful rather than to bitch and moan about how the meetings aren’t as fulfilling.


“People need to hear your story.”

“What do you mean, bud?”

“People need to hear your story. I think it’s inspirational. I mean you used to be a guy who didn’t do much besides go to bars and get drunk. Now, you do cool things. You love your wife, spend time with your son. You run. You hike. You bike. People need to hear your story.”

“Well, bud, some do. They hear it on my blog. They hear it at meetings. It’s why I have so many followers on Twitter.”

“Dad, you’re semi-viral on Twitter. Anyone with more than 1000 followers is semi-viral.”

“Well, that’s why people follow me on Twitter, bud. Because they get to hear my experience, strength, and hope there. And that’s why they follow me.”

I had this conversation with my son on Saturday as we finished a run that I’d made him go on. Not a long run. Not a fast run. An easy walk/run exercise to try to get him interested in running.

He fought me when I suggested it. He’s 12. He doesn’t want to run with his father. He doesn’t want to run at all. But I know it will be good to help him develop a habit of exercise. No one ever taught me this important life skill. I’m trying to break that cycle in the family.

He’s right. People do need to hear my story. People need to hear all our stories. And telling our stories is important. It’s cathartic. It helps us process the pain that caused us to drink or drug in the first place.

Sharing our stories helps others who may be struggling with similar challenges. As I’ve learned to get vulnerable and share from the heart in meetings, I’ve had many people tell me that my story gives them hope. Hope that they too can get sober. Hope that they can stay sober when the going gets tough.

I have heard enough stories in my recovery community that are like mine to know that I’m not unique. There are thousands, no millions, even hundreds of millions like me, who have given up the drink or the drug and are living extraordinary lives. We are the lucky ones.

But, in the eyes of my son I am extraordinary. That’s all I can ask for. Small recognitions from my son that I’m living up to my Higher Purpose, being a good husband and father. Doing the next right thing.

In the eyes of a 12 year old having thousands of followers is important.


Here’s to being semi-viral.

Having Fun Sobriety, as an Introvert

Earlier this week, I was at a discussion meeting where the topic was “having fun in sobriety.” Very quickly there were a number of shares that centered around making friends and doing activities with other members of a home group. Stories about coming into the rooms and quickly developing friendships with people who had common interests came up. People talked about going to a variety of activities including football games, movies, dinner, dancing, etc.

Very quickly, I felt uncomfortable as the tone of the meeting seemed to be moving towards two fallacies common in the rooms — the only people who you can be good friends with in recover are other people in recovery and the only way to have fun in recovery is by making friends with others in recovery and doing lots of social things with them.

I’ve heard versions of these two myths over the years. Here’s a common story I’ve heard over and over again in the rooms that encompasses both:

“When I came into the rooms, I had a lot of friends, but they were all drinkers. Today, I don’t associate with them anymore, I found out that they weren’t really friends. Today, all my friends are in the program. We do a lot of things together that I might have done with my drinking friends in the past, but we just don’t drink.”

There are two things that make me uncomfortable with these two myths. Firstly, some in recovery conflate introversion and/or social anxiety with isolation. And secondly, some in recovery seem to advocate that it’s important to have friends in recovery to the exclusion of friends who are not in recovery.

I sometimes think that because addiction leads to isolation in many cases, we mistake introversion for isolation in the recovery community. Introversion is a personality trait and it is defined not by whether or not someone is outgoing or social, but rather by whether or not one gets their energy by being around people or not. There are many introverts who are outwardly social, but who find that they are worn out after socializing rather than energized by it.

As an introvert, I find getting together with a group of people tedious and tiresome. I would prefer to meet up with a few good friends in a small intimate setting rather than go to a large party or sporting event. Don’t mistake me, there’s nothing wrong with a party or a sporting event, I take part in them from time to time, but I know that the social dynamics of these events aren’t best for me.

We also tend to conflate introversion with social anxiety. Whereas introversion is a personality trait, social anxiety is a mental health condition. At the same meeting, I heard a woman talk about how she suffers social anxiety and that this was not looked at as isolation by her sponsor. She told us that her sponsor made her attend Christmas parties and actually timed her attendance with a stop watch. I was horrified. No one should be forcing another person to do anything that they aren’t comfortable with in the name of recovery.

Introversion is not a “bad” thing that need to be corrected. While an argument could be made that social anxiety might be treated as a mental health issue, it is not something that we need to “fix” in others. Most of us in recovery are not medical or mental health professionals. Still, I sometimes feel that there is a sense in the recovery community that both are problematic “character defects.”

I believe this stems from the fact that connection between humans is so foundational to recovery. It is fundamentally true that we need connection in recovery, but connection comes in many forms. It doesn’t always look like a group of people doing something together. Sometimes it’s a one on one meeting over a cup of coffee. That’s the way this introvert prefers his connection.

Secondly, I find it disturbing when I hear people say that the only friends they have are in recovery. While I can certainly understand the rationale behind the old adage of giving up “people, places, and things,” one isn’t required to abandon their old lives when they enter recovery.

To be fair, there are some people who one may not associate with after getting sober — I have a few of those friends of convenience myself who I no longer see. I suppose that if all of my former friends fell into the category of being friends of convenience (just drinking buddies), then, perhaps, I’d feel differently about this. But I also know that my life would be forever changed if I’d abandoned all my friends who are still drinkers when I got sober.

I have some very good friends who are not in recovery. Friends that I’ve known for more than half of my life. They are just as capable of listening to me when I have a tough topic that I need to talk about as a friend in recovery. I think my life is richer for the fact that I am able to have good friends who are in recovery as well as good friends who still drink.

I enjoy hanging out with my long time friends from my college days and I’m comfortable with them drinking beers around me. I’m also conscious of the fact that there are limits and at a certain point, it’s time for me to check out and leave the party. It’s all about boundaries that I’ve set.

All of this is to say that it’s not only possible to have fun in recovery, but that having fun in recovery can and will look different for different people in recovery. How an extrovert chooses to have fun will necessarily look different from how an introvert has fun.

What are your thoughts on this? Do we conflate introversion and social anxiety with isolation in the rooms? Do you have friends in and out of recovery?

Stopping for Sam

If you follow me on twitter on Instagram then you know I’ve transformed myself from a relatively sedentary guy to a relatively passionate runner. In a little over a year, I’ve gone from barely being able to run for 90 seconds to running between 10 and 15 miles per week. Running has become a form of self care for me and I love it. I’m grateful that my body continues to heal from the damage I did when I was drinking.

Running is also a way for me to get out of the past and future thinking modes for which my brain is so hard wired and to get into the present. I tend to count off my footfalls in fours. I notice when my heart rate is higher than I want it to be (thanks to my watch) and I slow down and focus on my breath to bring it back into the zone that I am targeting. I notice others in the road or trail. I am delighted when I see friends in the trail, especially if they are friends from the rooms, as I did yesterday.

Because I am present and aware I notice my environment and what’s going on around me. And this is where the story of this post comes into focus.

Yesterday, I was out on a long training run, planning to run 8 miles as I train up for a 10 mile race in August. I’d been out on a tempo paced run for about an hour and a half and was closing in on the last mile when I noticed a man who I’m going to call Sam to protect his identity.

This was the longest run I’ve ever done and my motivation to complete it was very high. I wanted the little hit if dopamine that comes with the realization of a goal and a virtual trophy on Strava. I wanted to prove to myself that I could go the distance. I didn’t want to stop along my route.

Sam was underneath a picnic table which was underneath a pagoda on the side of the B&A trail in my town. He was on his back and looked to be writhing around a bit. The situation did not look good.

At first I kept running. I thought to myself, “that poor bastard is really in bad shape. Best not to engage. You’re so close to the end of your run. Keep moving.”

But then, because I’m in recovery and acutely aware of the epidemic of opioid addiction, I started to get concerned. “What if that guy is ODing? What if he needs help? If I don’t stop, who will?” I’d like to claim that the AA responsibility clause was ringing in my ears but it wasn’t. I just knew that I needed to check on Sam.

And so, about 25 yards after passing him I turned around.

I’ll be honest, I was a bit afraid of what I might be getting into. If he was ODing, I knew that I didn’t have Narcan and even if I did I’ve not been trained to administer it. I knew that I would need to dial 911 and stay for a bit. I knew that I might witness a man dying before my eyes. And I knew that if none of those things came true I could be in for a tongue lashing from a homeless drunk who didn’t want to be bothered.

I also knew that even though the trail was crowded in the glorious mid-day sun of June 2, 2019, not a single other soul was going to check on Sam.

And so, I approached cautiously. “Hey man, are you alright?” Something barely audible came out of Sam’s mouth and for a moment I was more concerned. “What’s that? Do you need help?”

“No, I’m okay,” his tired voice said. “I’m okay.”

“I saw you on the ground and wanted to make sure. I was afraid you might be ODing.”

“No,” Sam said. “I don’t do opioids — I drink a lot. Are you an EMT?”

I told Sam that I was not an EMT but that I am in long term recovery. I told him that I used to drink every day and that I’d been sober for three and a half years. I told him that there were a lot of people like us who would help him if he wanted to get better. I offered to call someone if he needed me to or to get him an ambulance.

Sam talked to me about his experiences with my old home group and mentioned a local legend from the AA community known for his drum circle meetings. I had to tell him that BR had passed about a year ago and that he’d died sober. Sam was sorry to hear this.

While Sam was clearly drunk and slurring his words he was able to hold a relatively coherent conversation and I felt that he wasn’t in immediate danger. He commented repeatedly about how I looked good and in shape and that he couldn’t believe that I used to have a problem with the drink. But I assure him that it was indeed true, that I’d worked hard to change and that he could have what I have if he wanted it.

I shook his hand and told him that he should make sure to get some water and eat something and that if I had any money with me I’d be taking him to get those things. He appreciated that.

And the I was off to complete my run. When I got to the cool down part of my workout I called my sponsor and another friend in recovery. Both told me what I already knew, that I can’t save everyone and that I’d done the right things. My sponsor reminded me that my stopping and talking might just be a little light in Sam’s world, perhaps the nudge he needs to find sobriety.

I’ll probably never know.

Later in the day, while doing errands with my son I drove by the spot just to see if Sam was still there. My son tiled me I’d missed our turn and I told him I just needed to see something. Sam wasn’t there and I don’t know what happed.

What I do know is that this small act of kindness took less that 10 minutes of my day and that if I hadn’t stopped it’s likely that no one else would have checked on Sam.

Maybe even a small act of kindness makes a difference when we live in such a disconnected world where others look past their present surroundings and ignore the plight of their fellow human beings.

Be kind to yourself and to your fellow beings. We are all just walking each other home.

Why I Changed My Twitter Handle, Again

A few weeks ago I changed my username on Twitter. It had been a long time coming. When I got sober and started interacting with people on Twitter I felt that I needed an anonymous handle and in the fog of the time I simply changed my handle from @ddeville to @soberboots to go along with the name of this blog. Shortly thereafter I felt that I needed to separate my other interests into a second handle and thus began the struggle of trying to maintain two handles on Twitter. Invariably, I neglected one of them. I spent time trying to get the followers that I’d had on @ddeville to migrate to my non sobriety handle, that didn’t work so well. I spent tome trying to only post certain things on one of the two handles and invariably ended up posting something about sobriety on the wrong handle.

I told myself that I needed to maintain the other handle for professional reasons. But if you’re never posting on a handle, or if your not posting with authenticity on that handle (I.e. only posting tweets related to your job) it’s not that interesting. Still, I felt like keeping them separate made sense, because I thought that I needed anonymity.

But a lot has changed in the past few years. I’ve grown comfortable in my own skin. I’ve learned that nobody gives a shit what’s in my glass at a party or a work happy hour. They just want me to be there. And more importantly, I’ve learned not to give a shit about it. I’ve gotten comfortable with my status as a person in long term recovery. Most of my professional contacts know that I no longer drink, and the ones who don’t will find out eventually and not care. I’ve learned that I don’t have to hide. And so, the need to have a separate “business” handle seemed to be fading.

At the same time, I began to feel constrained by my @soberboots handle. I felt like I couldn’t tweet about anything that wasn’t “on message.” I felt like I might lose followers if I did. I also felt like the word “sober” was attracting more and more rehabs and mental health providers. And there’s nothing wrong with that but my life is more than my recovery.

I’ve always strived to make my recovery the center of my life while being careful not to make my life my recovery. There’s more to life than recovery. Certainly in the early days it was very important for it to take priority — and it still is a priority, but it’s not all consuming.

So, I decided that there was no good reason to maintain the separation and I changed my handle to @onetruedamien.

I’ve felt much more at ease with this. I’m not sure that it makes any sense but I feel less burdened. I feel freer to be myself on Twitter. I followed all the people I was following on my “professional” account and some of them have followed me back, others haven’t. And that’s cool. I am not concerned about who is following and who is not.

This probably sounds insane to most people, but it doesn’t to me. It’s all part of the journey.

October 23, 2017: Reflections on Thirteen Years of Marriage

Thirteen years ago, I woke to brilliant sunshine after a week straight of rain, with a banging headache, in a hotel room at the O’Callahan on West Street, in Annapolis, MD. My addiction to alcohol would not take full root for several more years, but the previous night had been full of revelry with friends and family. We’d been celebrating in preparation of this day, the day that I would commit my life to the most amazing and beautiful woman I’d ever met. Yes, Mrs. TKD and I were getting married!

We had fretted about the weather for the entire week as it poured rain on Maryland. The forecast had predicted more rain on Saturday but here I was, awake with sun streaming in the window and clear skies as far as I could see. The air crisp and clear, we would have the perfect weather for our October wedding day after all.

The day became a bit of a blur once things got rolling, but at six in the morning I had a lot on my mind and couldn’t go back to sleep. Around seven, I met Mom for breakfast. I took a walk around ten and ate oysters at the Market House in Annapolis, shucked by a kind old black man named Lester Jones.

Lester had known my father and after he died always asked me how Mom was doing. When I shared the plan of the day with Lester his broad smiled showed through his slat and pepper beard and he told me that Dad would be proud. He told me that Dad would be with me that day. And I knew that he was with me in spirit. I carry my dad’s spirit with me everywhere I go, even now.

I’ve been reading a book called Waiting: A nonbeliever’s Higher Power, and one of the central tenets of the book is that we live in the here and now and that the very act of being present with other human beings — the act of communicating and participating in fellowship with other human beings — is in and of itself spiritual. I believe that this sense of community that we find in the rooms is perhaps even more powerful in our recovery than understanding any Higher Power in which we may believe.

I know for me this has been the case. The recognition that we are not alone that comes from spending time with others who seem to understand us vitalizes our lives. Talking about our pains and joys, actively listening to others, and offering our thoughtful suggestions are indeed connections between our spirit and the spirits of others fostered by a common language of struggle and triumph. When I came to understand that I was not alone in the rooms, my world expanded many fold.

Lester’s reminder that my father was with me was no accident. Indeed, I’d gone to get oysters from Lester specifically to spend time with my father’s memory. It was a small way to bring him into the day. I knew, if only subconsciously, that Lester and I would talk about dad and that by talking about him, we would bring his spirit to the day.

I did not know Lester Jones well, but I know a bit about his life. I knew that he’d been born south of Annapolis in a house on Muddy Creek Road in Edgewater, MD. I knew that he’d worked on the water as a younger man. I knew that he’d been married and divorced and that his current woman drove him a bit nutty but that he loved her. I knew that he was in his late fifties (at the time) but looked much older and weathered.

His had not been an easy life but he was a gentleman who had kind words and a smile. I didn’t know his entire life story, but I knew enough to know that his life was very different from my own, and yet, I considered him a friend — someone who was important enough in my family’s story to visit and to share the memory of my father with on my wedding day. I’ll never know if Lester considered me anything more than a customer, but I suspect he did. Lester made connections with people. He never forgot to ask about Mom when I visited his stand.

Today, as I celebrate thirteen years of marriage, I’m thinking about the connection between my spirit and Mrs. TKD’s spirit. I fell in love with her spirit first. It was here spirit that told me the stories of hiking Machu Picchu, of travels in Europe, of wanting to be a cartographer at National Geographic. It was here spirit that showed up on dates in pink and white cow printed sandals, and wore sparkly flip flops on that warm April day in 2003 when I met her. And it is her spirit that lifts me up when I am down. He spirit gave here the strength to never give up on me even in my darkest hours.

Our spirits are forever entwined and changed by the other. They will never be one, but they are close and I hope will never be separated.