I was born July 19, 1981 around 5:30 a.m. I was a premature baby, and there were a ton of complications. No one thought I would live….but here I am.
My Mother and I at my Grandparents house.
I grew up in a small town. I loved my house which was placed on a hill on the right as soon as you entered the small town. It overlooked the river, and had a huge yard with a beautiful weeping willow. I never had to worry about troublesome neighbors because my grandparents (Dads side) lived right across the yard. They had a nice house too. I remember every bit of it to this day. My Grandparents were such a blessing to me. They were there for me when no one else was or could be. I used to sit on the front porch with my Grandfather and eat Rice Crispies and we would try to figure out what they were saying and tell each other. He had two twin beds in his room and I would sleep in one and he would sleep in the other. I would try my hardest some nights to get to sleep but his snoring was SOMETHING! I remember knocking on the wall to wake him up so I would have those few more minutes to try to get back to sleep. Gosh what memories. His bed sat high off the floor, and I would hide under it whenever my Mom came to get me. I loved it there. My Grandmother had the longest, straightest, prettiest blonde hair I have ever seen in my life. I used to play with it day in and day out. She mostly wore it in a bun. She was so small and fragile….
My Grandmother Blue and I.
My Mother and Father had their ups and downs. We were all together and that was nice. Until the age of 10 where he asked for a divorce. Moved my Mother and I to an apartment and proceeded to get a separation agreement in place. I have seen it, read it, and know that his ultimate goal was to make sure I was taken care of. I can remember it saying he would pay for my health care, dental, etc. It was a very nice agreement if I remember correctly. My Mom gave me her safety deposit box key one time and I went to the bank to stalk through it. Looking for something. I’m not sure what. Anyways, just a few months after asking my Mom for a divorce, he passed away of his 2nd heart attack. I was devastated. My world came crashing down and from there, it’s been a tough road.
The memories I have with my Father will remain within me forever. He used to take me to swimming lessons, and run around outside and play with me. We had a beautiful weeping willow that we would spend a lot of time around. It’s branches reached the ground. I remember running through it as a child. Feeling the leaves, inhaling the air. I never learned how to swim. To this day, I struggle. One time I was standing on the bed and he was standing directly in front of me. He was such a broad man. He looked straight into my eyes and reached out his arms and said “Are you my buddy?” At the time, I was young and kids do say the darnest things so I replied with “No Daddy. You’re my Daddy…I can’t be your buddy and you’re daughter at the same time!” Now I sit here and say to myself quite frequently “Yes Daddy, I am your buddy.” Not quite the same but I know he hears me. For as far as I can remember he never spanked me once. He believed in stern talkings, and I believe they worked more so than the more physical discipline. He was definitely my hero. He was an awesome cook. I can still remember how perfect his shake and bake chicken would come out. I mean, we all know shake and bake isn’t anything overly amazing but it is to me when I remember NO spots where one side cooked longer than the other. You know…the slightly browner side that touches the oven pan. Nope, never with his. It was perfect. I miss that. Or the times where he would steam crabs. I had one jump out of the steamer and latch onto my toe! I cried and cried and he was the coolest, calmest and most collective guy meanwhile taking care of a hysterical daughter. Or the days where he was off. It was so great. We would lounge around the house together. We would stay in our jammies and curl up in the bed together and watch the “Andy Griffith Show” meanwhile swallowing some hot dogs and lots of ketchup! Gosh I can imagine the red blob of ketchup on the plate now. After the hot dogs were gone he would rub my back. He had the softest hands in the world and I have always told myself that when I met someone who could rub my back as good as my father, they were the one for me. Every time he would get ready to stop I would say “Two more minutes Daddy.” He would continue though the minutes that I was counting felt like hours and I did that on purpose! He was truly good to me. He was a police officer and loved his job. I’ve had the opportunity to connect with people from the Police Academy and they’ve shared with me his picture and grades where he was top of the class. That was his passion. I remember the rides in the police car. The occasional “get down” command as I wasn’t technically allowed.
My Daddy <3 <3 <3
My Mother and I didn’t have the best relationship growing up. There is much more to this story which I will not divulge however, I will say this. Growing up a child of an alcoholic parent was much less than desirable. We never had that Mother/Daughter connection/relationship. I have had to accept my childhood for what it was. Moving forward. My Mother was an apartment manger. She was good at it but we constantly had people vandalize our property and the kids would jump me and beat me up. I got a thick skin fast. I broke a girls jaw and nearly sent one to the hospital because I went after her with a majorettes baton. I still got my fair share of crap. I had stomach issues as a child. I spent time with my Roanoke family to help me. My Roanoke family is my Mom’s side of the family. Her Mother, Sister, Brother, etc.. Shortly after my Dad passed away, my Grandparents (his parents) sent me to Moose Lodge which is a home for parentless children in Chicago, IL. After touring the campus, my Mother decided against it and we continued to live in Colonial Beach in the apartments she managed. I lost both Grandparents in the year later. My entire Dad’s side of the family was gone in a years span. My world changed….forever.
My Pop entered my life around the age of 11 going on 12. My first memory of him was him riding my bike. My Mother had warned me that she had a date. I didn’t expect him to be on my bike nor stick around and make such a positive difference in my life. It was because of him and numerous exciting evenings that my Mom finally gave up the bottle. He moved us out of Colonial Beach and into Caroline County. We were in Port Royal and eventually in Ruther Glen where they still live to this day. My Mother was diagnosed with dementia and schizophrenia. Within a few years, Cancer got her. Stage 4 Breast Cancer. After a mastectomy and a rather aggressive approach with chemo, blood transfusions, etc.. I can say she is going on being cancer free for at least 4 years now which is wonderful. She is non-communicative at this point. I wish we could just sit and have a conversation but I know that will never happen. I read her messages she writes to me on a pad.
My Mother and I just prior to her Mastectomy.
One of our notes back and forth during chemotherapy.
No hair. About to get chemo and still smiling.
Blood transfusion time. It was taking it’s toll at this point.
One of her few hospital visits where I thought we were going to lose her.
Chemo is DONE!!!!!! Hair was growing back. Took her to the mall to get her nails and hair done.
And since then, her mental diseases have really hampered her life. She just stands in the kitchen all day. Doesn’t say anything. May laugh once in a while. If I go over there, I may get a strained “hello brandy” but that’s it. I don’t know what life has in store for her but regardless of my childhood and past, I do my absolute best to look out for my Mom. My Pop and I get her absolutely everything she could ever need and more.
A more recent pic of my Mom and Pop.
When we moved to Caroline, I began to date a guy named Matt. He was much older than me. At the prime age of 15, I moved out and got a job. I lived with Matt and worked full time while going to school during the day. I did this until I repeatedly landed in the hospital with reoccurring kidney stones. Forcing me out of school and to do an at home study program to obtain an equivalency. I was also diagnosed with GERD and ulcers around the age of 16. I’ve been on GERD medicine ever since. I spent 4 years with Matt. He was what I needed at the time. I don’t have any regrets.
I met Bobby within a few months of being single in the year 2000. I have my friends whom I don’t hear from (unless they want money) anymore that introduced us while going to the mall for the day. He was so refreshing and everything that I was looking for. It wasn’t long before we were in a relationship and after a night of arguing with my Mom, he moved me out and into his house with his parents. Bob and Hughlyn. They took me in and loved me just as their own. It wasn’t easy for them, I know. They didn’t hesitate. I am very close to them and they mean the world to me. They were there for me during numerous times including eye surgery and an ER visit to the hospital one day after I fell down their stairs. Just a few to mention.
Bobby and I in 2001.
Bob and Hughlyn <3 <3 <3
Bobby and I married in June 2002.
After we said “I do”. We were so relieved and happy.
I spent 12 years with Bobby. We had a pretty rocky relationship but I never doubted for a second that this man didn’t love me. Somewhere along the way, we lost it though. We had grown so far apart that it was unfortunately too late. We spent many months in counseling to no avail. We had a fundamental problem in communication and with time, it all got the best of us. We mutually agreed upon a separation in late 2011. I will always be thankful of my life with him. We are still friends to this day. I wish nothing but the best for him in every aspect of his life. Truly, madly, deeply.
During my marriage with Bobby, I became very sick. I had no idea why. All I know is I was lethargic and exhausted all of the time. Working full time was all I could take. Doing much of anything after that was such a chore. Mentally, it effected me. I went into a depression until he asked me to see a Dr. which I still see to this day. I’m diagnosed as depressive with generalized anxiety disorder. It didn’t give me any answers for my physical weaknesses and sicknesses. I’ve gotten the answers since then but it makes me wish I had known this so I could address it then. Instead of letting it affect me, my marriage, my work, etc.
During and prior to my separation I was working as a defense contractor in Dahlgren, VA. I had developed a friendship with Jason. Jason was already going through a divorce when we became closer but he was my friend and helped me get through mine. He spent many nights with me as I cried from fear of being a complete failure and unlovable. He nursed me back to health and through all of that, I began to see him for more than a friend. We were going places, doing things, laughing, and keeping my mind off of life. I went on travel for work one week and while I was gone, I realized that I couldn’t not be with him. We don’t exactly know when that was and where our relationship started. Everything was spinning. I got a job up north in Stafford. Once there, I began to really become concerned with my health. I started to get even more sick. Vomiting in the morning with extreme nausea and stomach pain. I was losing consciousness. I had bruises on my face for days. I know have a step stool in the bathroom because of this. I found a Dr. Well a P.A. who is wonderful and I started to see her. I told her all of my health concerns and through multiple diagnostic tests it was determined that I have diabetes and diabetic gastroparesis. This was a light bulb moment in my life. Where she looked at me and said “Well no wonder you haven’t been feeling well”. Yea. Years of not feeling well to finally have an answer. It almost felt like it was too late but it wasn’t. I just had to accept it. I have been on two diabetic medications and have settled on one that I take every night. It roars through me every night. I’m also on anti nausea medication for the gastroparesis. I was told to continue to take Levsin which helps with pain. I seldom take it because it doesn’t last long. It’s hardly worth it. The anti nausea medication is my life saver. Jason has been with me to every single dr.’s appointment. He has done nothing but support me and understand my conditions. He makes life with this easy in a way. He never makes me feel guilty for what’s going on. He’s plugged in, interested, and wants to see me overcome this. I couldn’t ask for more.
I got laid off at my job in Stafford. This was a game changer for me. It gave me the opportunity to focus on my health. After multiple visits to various specialists I will share with you my diagnoses in the “My Diagnosis” page of this website. I began to help Jason with his business endeavors in Fl. It was just something I did to help him and keep me busy. It landed with me drawing an income for my contributions to him. I now own a web marketing and advertising company for small businesses. We are still very new to this and have MUCH to learn but being self employed is the absolute biggest blessing I could have ever asked for. Being sick and having this flexibility is worth so much.
I now work every day with Jason doing property management in Fl. and the business here in VA. His parents are in Fl. Our plan is to move there in 2 years. He needs to be there for them and take over the family business and frankly, it would be a nice change of scenery. They are very nice people and have welcomed me into their family. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do as I believe they were hurt over what his ex did to him but that didn’t stop them. I am always welcomed with a big kiss on the cheek and food…..there’s always so much food! 🙂 And Barry always has the best liquor!
Jason and I early on in our relationship.
Barry and Veronica!