I’ve put in another twenty years since closing the book on that part of my life. The experience of my marriage with Lou has made me both stronger and weaker at times, however it did not leave me angry or with any regret. I’ve grown from countless lessons and am blessed to share my life with our daughter, Anjelica, now a strong, intelligent, loving woman who continues to be an inspiration and bright light in my universe. Although my parents have both passed, I’m fortunate to still be connected with many of the people mentioned on these pages.
I think back to my teenage years on cruise ships, and the hours I stood leaning on the rail of the aft deck, mesmerized by the wake from the boat on the sea. As Alan Watts brilliantly explained, the wake dissipates, and can never drive the ship. Likewise, the past cannot drive or direct the course of my life, unless I choose to stay transfixed. These pages reflect the wake of my life. It is a look back from a certain perspective, but it does not define the entirety of me, nor does it define the entirety of Lou. I forgive the errors of the past and continue to practice forgiveness on life’s daily challenges. Sometimes it comes easy and sometimes it feels impossible, but I do the work to forgive and let go, because it is the only path to true freedom.
I don’t have the answers and have stopped asking why people do the things they do. As was the case in my life, there are typically contributing factors on all sides, but there is no valid excuse for abuse, and nobody deserves to be abused. No matter what occurred in the past, the future is defined by present action.
If you are in a physical, mental, or emotionally abusive relationship, know that help and resources are available 24/7. Don’t wait until you are in crisis. Use a secure phone or computer to contact your local domestic violence support center or call the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Even if you are not ready to leave, an advocate can help you work through your options and create a safety plan. Housing, financial, and legal assistance are available if needed. In an emergency, dial 911 if it is safe to do so.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is always available to help by phone in the U.S. at 1-800-273-8255, and at their website, www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Trust your instincts. Take action in the present to create your future.