I get asked a lot why or how I can be so happy. The truth is that I’m not always happy and I definitely have my moments of bitterness at life. What you see is my being grateful for the life I have today. A life I never dreamed was possible as young poor kid growing up in New York. I didn’t grow up in what anybody would consider a good neighborhood. We were surrounded by gangs and drugs. We lived separately from my father while he was stationed elsewhere and spent summers together with a few short weeks with him during the school year. I’m grateful to see my children all day every day. My father is an alcoholic, my mother abused pain killers at the end of her life, and my twin was an addict who was killed from gang affiliated violence at 16. I’m grateful to never have taken drugs or felt the need to get drunk constantly to face life. I am grateful to have always had a dream to work towards since childhood and to have achieved it. That dream was taken from me with my accident, but I survived. I went from having my dream job and success to having every possible dream in my life come true despite my disabilities.
I am still bitter at times about the things my accident took from my life. I also know that I wouldn’t have my family if it had not happened. I am grateful to have a wife who understands my problems and my disabilities. I am grateful to have the unconditional love of my children, as long as no one ever finds out my hidden identity as a math teacher. I am so grateful to have 3 beautiful perfect daughters who are my life. I’m angry that I wasted so my time and energy in relationships with people who never cared for me beyond a superficial level. I am grateful to have seen the truth within my family and friends, to know who really loves and cares for me. I am grateful for the opportunity to see my brothers living happy successful lives, despite the many losses in our family. I was grateful to meet my brother Mel and not watch him live life as my sister. My entire life I was confused when people said that I had 2 sisters, because even as a child I knew my sister was my brother. Now the world sees him and accepts him for who he is as a soul and not a physical body. I am angry that my wife has faced so much pain in her life, but I am grateful for the wonderful appreciative mother and wife she is today. I am thankful that life of pain made her a fighter who never gave up. Life knocked her down several times, but she’s standing and every bit as beautiful as she has ever been.
You can see that I have many things to be grateful for in this life and I do my best daily to not take any of it for granted. I know how quickly a life can be taken away. I’ve almost lost my wife to cancer and treatments multiple times. I shouldn’t be here. She shouldn’t be here. Our youngest daughter should not be here. Blessed does not describe my life. I truly am living a dream and I pray to God nightly that I never wake up from it. It’s not an easy life, but it’s a blessing that I promise to always try to remember to be grateful for and to live each moment.