If you’re just joining up for the first time you’ll probably want to start at the beginning of this story to make any sense of it, so here are links to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.
Sometimes it takes a long, long time to see the culmination of your blood, sweat, and tears. When you’re climbing uphill and you can’t see the peak because the clouds are covering it, and your knees are bloody and you’re tired, it’s easy to want to give up and lose faith.
Take one more step; crawl forward. In the end, your persistence will pay off. You can and you will make it if you keep pressing on. I know how you feel; don’t give up. The mountaintop does exist. I promise. Just take one more step and believe that you can.
July 3, 2012, brings us five years forward in time from the last time Grant and I were together, and so much has changed around me. But, once again, I’ve come back to a place that I call home, and as much as I wanted to move beyond that moment on July 3, 2007, it’s taken this long to work my way through it.
If you’ve ever gone fishing, you know how easy it is to tangle up your fishing line. The tangle happens pretty fast, and if you aren’t careful, you can cause yourself a huge problem incredibly fast. For me, after I lost Grant, it was like the most enormous hairball of fishing line you have ever seen, spun out of control in front of me, and put inside my brain. Knots and bunches and crossovers everywhere. 24 years of fishing line all jacked up in 24 hours. It took a long time for me to figure out that it had really happened because I was still in shock. Eventually, I finally found the first end of the fishing line and started the slow and tedious process of untangling.
It took a long time for me to figure out that it had really happened because I was still in shock.”
When you want to untangle a line, you have to work in stages. You start by carefully searching for one end of the line and then the other. If you don’t know where the mess started, good luck getting it undone. After you’ve located the end of the line, you carefully work out a small section at a time untying the knots, looping in and out here and there, until you get a longer section free that you can wind back onto the reel in the proper way. If you aren’t patient and you don’t work methodically, you can create more knots or forever stall your progress.
Although I’m not 100% sure yet, I think I’m starting to wind the final lengths of line back onto the reel. Incredibly, with the help of God and my family and friends, I’ve moved past the chaos of that day where I lost Grant, and have emerged a changed person; someone who cares deeply about his family, his friends, and his community.
My wife Abby, whom I’ve been married to for three years now, has been one of the most influential people in helping me untangle the knots. She is one of the people in the new chapter of my life who’s been there the whole way, faithfully loving me and encouraging me through one of the hardest parts of my life.
Although I wasn’t sure at the time why, I ended up having to move away from the area for awhile because the knots were too entangled in my mind still. Over time, and when my wife and I found out that we were expecting our first child, I was ready to come back home and start working through some of the final pieces of my past. One of the amazing things that happened from that was Geauga News. In tribute to Grant, who sowed so many positive things into my life, I wanted to give something positive back to my hometown, my community of Geauga County. So with that goal in mind, I founded Geauga News.
Within just a few weeks, God brought into my life a handful of people who have turned out to be incredibly faithful and kind friends. When I lost Grant, I thought I had lost the ability to have true friendship again, but fortunately, I was wrong. I now have rich and fulfilling relationships again, and I’m excited to keep writing the next chapter where I can carry forward the faithful and true friendship of my beloved friend Grant to someone else who needs it.
Here’s to the next chapter in your life and mine. Keep trying. Don’t give up. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you’re trying to figure out your own knots. No matter where you are at today, I can promise you that it’s worth it to keep trying and keep pushing forward. Someday you’ll be the one reaching back, faithfully helping another friend move forward out of their mess.