C.O.U.R.A.G.E.: Continuing Onward Under Rigorous And Grueling Experien – The Giving Keys
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C.O.U.R.A.G.E.: Continuing Onward Under Rigorous And Grueling Experiences

I started a new career in July of 2012. I remember being so intimidated the moment I walked through the front door. The man who was about to interview me was stunningly beautiful. I have never been one to believe in love at first sight..  until I met him.

I thought I completely blew my interview since my gaga looks were effecting my ability to speak. I was shocked and pleased when I got the final phone call stating that I landed the job.

It wasn't until much later that I found out my boss had told the owner he didn't want to hire me because he wanted to take me out on a date. Fortunately the owner of the company overruled him.

Over the small course of two weeks my boss and I tried our best to ignore the attraction we shared for one another and remain professional... that idea failed miserably.

Against better judgement and many conversations later, we broke the company's dating policy and eventually let it be known.

I was surprised by the speedy amount of time it took me to become completely enamored by him. After a month of knowing this man I moved in with him. We spent every waking hour together.

His passion for the community and appreciation for life inspired me in so many ways. This amazing man always had something soothing to say.

For the first time in my still semi-young life I knew what true love felt like. We didn't feel the need to express verbally how much we loved each other. I could tell by his eyes and the adoring look he always gave me that I meant the world to him. He became my world. Everything I waked and breathed for. I was safe with him and felt so secure at all times.

After becoming overwhelmed with our surroundings and fed up with our small town, we collectively and spontaneously decided to move out West together (something we both aspired to do).

Soon after, he resigned from his position within the organization. I however decided to stay to help fulfill my role. Each morning as I would leave for work my love had breakfast ready for me, a lunch packed, coffee in a mug, and my car started up and ridded of any snow. How spoiled was I?

He spent his days selling his belongings on Craigslist and applying for jobs in our desired new location. We decided that the less items we possessed, the easier the transition would be. Since he had a law degree and the communication skills anybody would desire, he didn't have a problem getting phone calls back.

My last day of work came quickly. It was a Wednesday. We planned on moving the upcoming Monday. I was ecstatic to start a new exciting life with the man I adored wholeheartedly.

After work that day I came home a little later than expected. I was unable to get a hold of him for hours prior to arriving. An unsettling feeling of nervousness rushed through my body.

Once I got home I searched for him. His therapy dog and companion was downstairs waiting to greet me. I walked straight upstairs and opened the door to our bedroom. I didn't see him. I tried to remain calm and went downstairs to work on my computer. As I munched on hummus and watched a movie, my nervousness grew bigger. Realizing his dog was no longer by my side I headed back upstairs to find her. She was in our closet laying by my boyfriend's feet. He had taken his own life.

The images of that night haunt me everyday. I walk by a closet and I cringe. I see hummus and it feels like someone punched me in the stomach. Sometimes it's so hard to get through the days. My world feels like it has broken into pieces around me. I ponder how I will make it through this.

I've found that my support system and many positive thoughts are the only thing that has kept me going. Staying busy is my best distraction from reality. When it becomes dark outside, it never fails that I'll cry myself to sleep.

I bought this key with the word “courage” on it for a very special friend who was going through a hard time. The day after my boyfriend passed away, that same friend showed up at my dad's house. She placed it around my neck that day. A bag of clothes and an abundant amount of food accompanied her. I can’t explain the feeling that came over me. My eyes instantly welled up and the tears began to flow. 

I’ve never really felt weak before. I did at that moment. I’ve never needed to be helped. I enjoy helping people, yet, I’ve never needed to be on the receiving end. I think that’s when I realized my life was changing in the most traumatic and drastic way possible... and people were recognizing that. I felt overwhelmed with love. Though sad and happy for this necklace at the same time, I found and still find comfort in wearing it. 

I look down at the engraved word daily…”COURAGE.” I come from a strong family. They told me their acronym for courage.. continuing onward under rigorous and grueling experiences. 

There have been many times that I’ve thought that I can’t go on with life, that I’ll sit in my room and never come out. What is that going to do though? It’s the moment I sit still that the depression takes over. In order to have the pain subside, I must stay busy. So that’s what I’ll do. Continue onward.


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1 comment

  • Rachel,
    I’m so sorry for your loss! You are correct though you are one of the most giving people I know. Draw on that strength now to pull you through this. Lean on your friends for strength when you need it for you have MANY and you are LOVED. If you ever need a shoulder or a hug I’m there -


    Penny Ratajczak on

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