Our Story Begins:
When The Story Begins Again..

As you read this, I will have hit a rather important milestone.

October 6th marks the anniversary of when my blog, Our Story Begins, had its inaugural post.  I bring this up not because I’m looking for congratulations or celebratory, online back-slapping for what I’ve done.  The idea and the reasons behind my writing were never for celebrity or congratulations.

But that doesn’t mean they weren’t selfish, either.

It’s time for some perspective, I suppose.  One year ago I had reached a point where school had started again.  The misty fog of grief that seemed to have clouded my memory of how we’d survived the weeks after losing my wife, Andrea, was starting to lift.  However, the fog was lifting right in the weeks prior to what would have been Andrea’s 42nd birthday.  As the weeks flipped by like a calendar in an old Bogart Noir, I could see that day approaching.  It was a day I dreaded because even in her life I’d never really gotten it right.

But bigger than a birthday or a date was the personal reasons I’d started writing.

I was alone.

No, I wasn’t physically alone, I have four kids, all of whom are incredible.  They love me beyond all belief.  My oldest daughter and I used the time when the other three went to bed to watch some old romantic comedy or talk about her day and see what the future held.  But even she went to bed early and then the house became empty.  Silent.  I was lonely.

So in that time, those painfully silent hours, I began to write what I couldn’t understand.  There was a lot to process.

Guilt was a big one:

Guilty I couldn’t do more;

Guilty that financially we were better off now;

Guilty that we started doing things like music, or my daughter going into acting, that Andrea never liked and of which Andrea wouldn’t have approved;

Guilty that I might see a beautiful woman and actually . . . look . . . knowing I’m no longer married.

Guilty of the fact that I could actually be happy.

When I started, I looked for a title.  During the summer, I set up our new rental home and hung pictures on the wall.  My daughter, Abbi, had given me a vinyl lettering kit for the middle of the family photos that read: “Home, the place your story begins.”

That struck a chord to me.  Yes, partially because I’m a writer, but also because it made sense.  We were going through our life like the pages of a story book.  The problem was that the story ended, one of the authors leaving the book unfinished like Samuel Clemens putting Twain’s hat on its rack for the last time.

So I sat down and wrote “Our Story Begins” as the title because it was true.  For the first time in a long time, the ability to write the story I wanted.

I wrote music.

I took the kids on little adventures.

I visited my folks in Nebraska – several times.

I went to New York with my daughter.

Each morning would come, and the bed would feel a little less cold.  The pit of my stomach would feel a little less like a vortex of self pity.  Now, as I approach this year I realize that the title which could have had a finite shelf life really doesn’t.  As I hit year two, I see the story starting again.  I approach my first child leaving home and our story will begin again.  My second will go to high school; our story will begin again.

Understand, I miss Andrea, love her, and adored her as well as being frustrated by her just as much.  But she gets to live on forever in our minds in the perfect version of herself.  She’ll always be that beautiful blonde woman with the curly hair and twinkle in her eyes when she smiles.  She is eternally the best version of herself in all our hearts and minds.

All this while I wear a few more years and crease a few more lines in my face.  The pounds rise and fall.  We cannot remain stopped with her or we fail and I fail my kids.

So on this anniversary of my daily online diary, so to speak, I open my mind to the fact that it’s all different.  That’s okay.  It could be me and the kids or it could be more.  But I’m not scared of that any more.

. . . and I don’t feel guilty about it . . . much.  I do this because I know, like this last year, Our Story Begins . . . again.


What about you?  Ever feel guilty about the way you’ve lived your life?  Have you wondered about where you’re going or what you’re doing?  Have you lost someone and wondered these same things?

More From GEM

Our Story Begins: The Exhaustion of Fear Itself

Tandem Tantrums: From Wall Street To Welfare To Walt Disney

Mediocre Mom Manual: My Family’s Resolutions… FOR ME!

Dave Manoucheri is a writer and journalist based in Sacramento, California.  A father of four, two daughters and twin sons, his blog, Our Story Begins, is a chronicle of their daily life after the loss of his wife Andrea, in March of 2011. Follow him on Twitter @InvProducerMan.