Five years ago today a very seemingly small thing happened that would ultimately change the course of my life. And it happened right here on this blog.
Including one from a fellow who’d never commented on my blog before.
You see, that day was the first day Dan commented on my blog.
Within a month or two we were emailing and having our first phone calls (amen for online services like Skype and Google Hangout!!). It was natural from the start, talking to each other – nothing awkward at all. It was like that “oh, there you are” type of feeling. And even though in the early days I could only understand about a quarter of what he was saying (being from Melbourne and all, about the furthest away a gal could meet a guy), we connected on so many levels.
I was a bit worried about falling for a guy from so far away, as my last relationship had been long distance with a guy in England, and it was only three months prior that I’d been wandering Scotland with this man whose treatment of me led me to write at one point during the journey, never would i imagine i would be at a loss for poetry as i am today.
And that’s not to say the early years were easy as the relationship with Dan developed. There was of course the overwhelming distance. There were two people not only geographically apart, but dealing with things in our individual lives that needed to be confronted. I was still working in the corporate world but in a contract job where I felt so out of place no matter how successful I was there. I was devastated from my recent heartache. I was watching the slow decline of my cherished Rottweiler. He was a man fighting an internal battle, who at the time we started talking claimed (as he recently described in a guest post) was a “card carrying single and childless man” and had some seriously self-sabotaging tendencies.
But with all our own baggage, a deep and abiding friendship was born. Old fashioned letters and care packages sent both directions, weekly calls, daily text messages, and of course, in those early days, following each others blogs.
Over the next two years the romance really blossomed, and, in February 2013, I made a big leap – to use my existing frequent flyer miles to cross that ocean. To hedge my bets, I scheduled myself to do some volunteering down in Indented Head, just in case the in-person chemistry was not there.
Oh, it was there. 🙂
And with that, a few months later he was on his way to America for a few weeks of time on my home turf. I showed him the best of the Pacific Northwest as we hung out in my neighborhood, he helped me in the garden, we took side trips to the beach and to his first major league baseball game in Seattle. I was in a better place having started my own company the prior year, and he was on his way to his own better place with a new outlook on what life could look like. He told me he loved me.
We knew we wanted a life together but needed to figure out if the leap across the great blue ocean would be worth it. I owned my home and business here in Portland and was finding great success. He was renting a studio in one of the highest cost of living cities in the world but working in a good job for 16 years in a country with universal healthcare.
So we made a deal: with my schedule flexibility and his 8 weeks of vacation time, we’d try a version of “living together” – me in Australia for a month then flying back to the US for a second month, spending two full months together and really seeing if we were compatible on a bit more of a ‘regular life’ basis.
Truth came out during this time as families were introduced, the relationship endured it’s biggest challenge, countries were explored, and ultimately, love was deepened.
And during that trip, he proposed. In May of 2014, we made the commitment to each other as husband and wife. Nearly two years into our marriage and five years since that day he commented on my words, we are happy. Truly, honestly, unequivocally happy.
No other word will do. For that’s what it was.
Gravy, these past ten years.
Alive, sober, working, loving, and
being loved by a good woman. Eleven years
ago he was told he had six months to live
at the rate he was going. And he was going
nowhere but down. So he changed his ways
somehow. He quit drinking! And the rest?
After that it was all gravy, every minute
of it, up to and including when he was told about,
well, some things that were breaking down and
building up inside his head. “Don’t weep for me,”
he said to his friends. “I’m a lucky man.
I’ve had ten years longer than I or anyone
expected. Pure Gravy. And don’t forget it.”
~ Raymond Carver