Death and the Happy Ending

Three years ago tomorrow, my dad was killed.  November 4, 2007.  Crap. 
It was actually four years ago.  Wow,
the time has really gone by fast.

Seven months after that, I read my first romance novel.  “Seize the Night” by Sherrilyn Kenyon.

I fell in love with about a million things from reading that
book.  I could not believe the topics she
wrote about.  Gosh, it’s still
mind-blowing and beautiful.  And then I
read more.  And more.  And then other romance authors.   (My husband was deployed during all this so
I was really living it up in romance-land.)
I loved that I had stumbled upon this genre where so many things weren’t
forbidden.  I won’t lie.  One of my first realizations was that here
was finally a bunch of people who could write about the one thing we all need
to happen for our lives to begin.  Nature
doing exactly what it pleases.  Two
people having sex.  And hopefully falling
in love.  And needless to say, I love
this community and the open-minded people who write all these inspiring stories.

So, it kind of breaks my heart to have to say this, but here
it goes.

I know of a young man, a hero.  He started out that way at least.  Sizzling good looks and a heart of gold to go
with it.  But in 1969, many heroes like
this young man left to fight for our country, experienced ungodly horrific
things, and returned home to a very un-heroic welcome.  And for this young man, it broke him.  For the next several decades, he spent his
days and nights as one big ball of conflict.
Battling those war-born demons.  Trying so hard to be worthy… his good heart
suffering for the pain no decent man could possibly know how to deal with.  There were wives, divorces, kids.  Pain.
Suffering.  But like any bonafide
hero, that little light living buried in his heart never went out
completely.  Finally, after years and
years of wandering around, a hero inside a lost and battered soul, he found the
love of his life.  His soul mate.  Slowly, the hero found his way back to the
forefront.  Yes, it took some work.  And a health scare.  Nothing like your own mortality to make you
see a bit more clearly.  Focused.  Now this hero’s life was filled with love—from
his wife, his children, his friends.   Forgiveness he worked so hard for came from those
he had hurt in the past.  He was happy.  Finally.  And then this hero was killed.    At 58
years old.

If ever a hero deserved a happy ending, isn’t it him?  He turned his life around.   Sacrificed.
Found love.  Treasured and
cherished it.  Learned all his

Are we really willing to deny him his happy ending simply
because he died and left behind the love of his life?

I’m not.

Just because one half
of your heart leaves this earth and goes to that unknown place beyond–doesn’t
mean you didn’t earn your happily ever after.
If you’ve lost your soul mate—I am going to stand up for you right now
and declare, “And they lived happily ever after.”

it’s never The End…until
we meet again

rip dad

29 thoughts on “Death and the Happy Ending

  1. Carlene – I grieve with you but I also rejoice with you at all of the loving memories you have of your Dad. And, yes, I believe he gets his happy ending. Love like that never dies as long as it lives in you . . .

  2. Oh Carlene, I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing a piece of your heart with us. It was both heartbreaking and beautiful.

  3. There must have been something spicy in my oatmeal because I am sitting in my office crying. Also, I’m standing up with you. Happily every after indeed. Hugs and kisses.

  4. Wow, Carlene. That was sad, moving, and beautiful. I’m so sorry about your dad. I lost my mom in May 2007, also at the age of 58. Much too young.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  5. Carlene, my beautiful, talented, sweet sister…….you know what? Thats all I can say right now….I will revisit later and leave you a real comment. I love you.

  6. I am with Dana. Can’t write through the tears but will be back later. It’s beautiful. Thank You!!!!!!

  7. Carlene – this was a beautifully haunting piece. Thank you for being so brave and sharing something so personal. My Dad fought in Vietnam as well and came home a changed man. In 1992 when I was seven months pregnant with my daughter (my husband was active duty Navy at the time) my Dad was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma caused by exposure to Agent Orange during the war. Once more he fought bravely and in 2001, he lost that war. He is buried at Arlington so I am able to go and spend time with him when my hear calls me to do so. My life was forever blessed by his heroic nature…just like your Dad. We were blessed indeed! Until we meet again…

    1. Gosh Mary, thank you so much for sharing yours and your Dad’s story. I knew there were other heroes out there and am very touched by your words. I just feel that if we can be open-minded about so many things, why not the happy ending for the ones who so rightfully deserve it as well?

  8. Carlene, wow, just when you think you’re through crying, you find out you aren’t! That was very well written, like everything else I’ve read of yours. Forgiveness and Love – What else really matters? He did get to live happily ever after…

    1. Thank you Aunt Terry. I am sorry this piece brought out so many tears but am so appreciative of the responses from everyone. Love you.

  9. Carlene, what a beautiful homage to your father and those who carry him in their hearts. I’m sure he would be honored by your tribute. Thank you so much for sharing some of your family history and for reminding us that life is short.

    1. Thank you Kathy. Thank you so much for stopping by and reading this. It was very close to my heart and I really appreciate your words.

  10. Carlene, thank you so much for sharing, and not just the happy stuff but the ugly stuff that life is made of too. That was a beautiful tribute to your father and a wonderful reminder to seek forgiveness and love fully because our days on this earth are numbered. My father passed away last December and I can relate all too well to the emotions conveyed here. Thank you for sharing and know that I stand with you sister mermaid, “And they lived happily ever after.”

    1. Thank you,Dana, sister mermaid. I’m so sorry to hear about your father. My heart and thoughts are with you.

  11. Ahhhh, Carlene-Mermaid. This is a beautiful piece. Thank you so much for sharing and big hugs to you! 😉

  12. I know that I say this everytime I read something new from you; I mean it every time; but THIS is the BEST thing I have EVER read…I mean EVER. I love romance novels but the best romantic stories are always the real life ones. I am not just talking about a love story between a man and a womn, but of the life of a troubled yet sweet and wonderful living person.
    Regardless of his faults in life, our dad had a certain chrasmatic way about him. People were always drawn to him the very first time they met. I saw it happen again and again. You could never stay mad at him for very long; God knows I tried. But that “Heroes Spark” would somehow shine through at the very moment that you wanted to mad….and you just couldn’t.
    When johnny and I were kids, the only way that we were able to get through life was knowing that he was going to come and rescue us….just that one week a year…..but that one week a year got us through until the next. When i was older, we butt heads….A LOT…..we never saw eye to eye…..When he met Anna, that hard shield started to chip away….and more of the before mentioned spark would shine through even brighter. when he had the stroke…..I think the shield crumbled….we were finally able to meet in the middle. His mortality did a lot to us both….i did not want us to go out with troubled relationship that we had. he went through a lot in his life; things no one shoud have to ever endure…..and I was finally able to respect that. A few months before he died we had our first ever heart to heart…..a real, honest conversation about things that had past between us and better things to come. I feel like I had finally gotten my chance to connect with him and get to know the Dad and david that everyone else did…..I didnt get much time but I thank god every day that I got even that short amount of time to get to know him. He, of all people, has the right to a happy ending….Anna, who put up with a lot from “some” of us kids (heehee) and the trials she has faced in life deserves that happy ending too. They were meant for eachother and I for one am so glad they found one another. YES TO HAPPY ENDINGS! Carlene, I love you from the bottom of heart….I love your words and your spirit….and your passion…you are amazing and I am so proud to call you my sister. P.s. sorry i wrote so much 🙂

  13. Well thanks a lot little sis. Now it’s my turn to cry. 😉 I love you. Humor is a wonderful device. You know I treasure every word you wrote here.

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