In my life it was a fact I will never forget. My journey (others would say my struggle) started in December of 2009 when my love and best friend of 12 years, Michael, started to go in and out of a coma after being in the Special Care Unit at Maine Medical Center. He had been diagnosed with Colitis almost at the onset of our relationship. Battling this horrible disease became the focus of our lives. He was never in remission and spent agonizing times dealing with this disease. After being in the hospital In October of 2009, while receiving treatments for anemia and a series of blood transfusions, he developed an infection which led to others and eventually to his major organs shutting down and he passed at the tender age of 43 on December 30th. He held on to life and fought to the very end. I thought this was the end, in fact it was just the beginning.

After many months of grief filled days and nights I pulled myself together. I had a home and two dogs I had to take care of so I did what I had to do. I had started my own business a couple of years before this and I knew I couldn’t focus on this nor did I have the energy so I went back to work for others and tried to put the pieces back together. Eventually I started to date again. I met a very intelligent attorney who was also an accomplished pianist and violinist. He seemed to have it all. After one of our dates, to my utter shock and bewilderment, I received a call from his brother letting me know he had committed suicide, he hung himself. Being the last person to see him I had to give a statement to the chief of police explaining our evening together. Spending time with someone who fought so hard to stay alive and someone who looked at life almost meaningless was something I really grappled with, I couldn’t make sense of it.

Now a death and suicide would be a lot for most to deal with. With the help of family and friends I came through this and carried on. And life threw me yet another curve. Shortly thereafter I found out I was pregnant and was told I probably would not carry full term but not knowing that I would shortly have a miscarriage all alone at home. The pain was almost insurmountable. I kept thinking how come I am being so challenged, it didn’t seem fair however that inner voice kept saying there is a reason.

My challenges were not over. I decided to throw my hat into the ring and start dating again. I met, who I thought, I would spend the rest of my life with. We liked to entertain and we had a big party on Memorial Day weekend. During the event, that night and for the next 2 1/2 weeks, I was violently ill. Not even water stayed down. My doctor was convinced I had a stomach flu, I knew better. Eventually I was diagnosed with Salmonella, severe dehydration and a Vitamin B-12 deficiency. And to top that I found out he was cheating on me which ended our engagement. Alone again, thankfully I had the unconditional love of my two dogs, my true loves.

What truly agonizingly follows is having to make the decision to put my oldest dog down, or as a good friend set him free. One of the hardest things I ever had to do. The following years had many challenges including this one. I took in a Siberian Husky as a favor. I kept my dog and him apart until I felt comfortable they were getting along. In a split second the Siberian went after my Alaskan Husky, I stepped between them and suffered a major trauma to my leg. It required intensive surgery and resulted in 24 staples and pain until this very day. The Siberian ended up at a farm and me and my Alaskan continued on together. Eventually I faced that dark day again when I had to make the decision to put him down. This had to be it. Seven years of trials and tribulations and I really did break a mirror. So there I was, all alone. What to do? I was still working making ends meet however something was missing.

After a corporate buyout I was let go or as I say I was given a blessing. I decided to restart my business, going all in this time. If not for an innate positive attitude, the help of family, friends and even strangers, the belief in a higher power, exercise, a healthy diet and many inspirational books I would not be where I am today which I have to say is an amazing place! My business is flourishing, my home is my happy place and I have learned of the strengths I never knew I had, the perseverance to push forward and knowing that I am blessed. The power of positive thinking and living it really does work. I am not a survivor I am a thriver!!