Somehow we met through a hashtag on Instagram but our open hearts and silly asses met face-to-face March 2017 in Toledo, Ohio and thus began a long distance friendship – Jessep was in Michigan, Caroline situated along the Florida panhandle.
Distance, no matter, we felt an undeniable, magnetic & genuine connection.
Now, 18 months later, crazy as it still seems to even us most days, we are here building a life together, at the beach, and wanting to share our life and story…
Simply because we have been through trench after trench and want to pass the baton of hope that there is so much life and love to be experienced despite …any… circumstance.
. . .
Where do I even begin…
Easy, I guess. My own gratitude.
My gratitude for his presence in my life knows no bounds. It catches me and sometimes nearly snatches my breath away.
Like, “How is this happening!?” “How did I deserve this?!”
And I am not taking it for granted for a second. Because I know what it feels like to have it all taken away in a moment.
I treasure him, his patience and kindness, his sense of humor and courage to be himself.
And when we first met, I felt like I was meeting a friend, someone that was quieting my anxious mind.
And to me, that is pure gold.
Someone I could trust. Without second guessing him too terribly much (I am human, after all), I felt like I could truly be myself.
Not my identity as a mother of two young kids, not who I was before tragedy in my life happened… I could truly set it all down, break open and be myself.
He accepted it, just as I was and am.
Permission to be yourself is one of the greatest gifts you can give another, besides the greatest of all, loving them for it.
He is courage.
A live-out-loud, be-yourself, go-with-the-flow, come-as-you-are, kindness radiating off his shoulders, sunshine-in-his-smile kinda guy.
Just look at that face, will ya?
His heart & soul, though, are really what I was after.
Anyone can be attractive, right, but it truly is something extraordinarily special to be super soul food and have something honest and real to offer, that pours unapologetically from their heart. Open. Honest. That’s the Jessep I love, adore, appreciate, want to discover, and want to keep sharing.
Simply, he is the guy I just want to be around. To life with.
And sometimes to my own surprise and awe, here he is, life-ing with me.
Grabbing my hand, just as I have grabbed his, and saying, “Let’s do this.”
So, here we are.
He looks at me and really looks into me with a soft, compassion. He tries to understand but doesn’t assume to know what I have known or been through. He allows me to be, feel, and think and more importantly… share, whatever I am feeling and thinking. His love has certainly liberated me in so many ways!
I look at him and see boundless possibility, excitement, love, passion for life, kindness and courage. He’s my safe haven, quiets my mind and brings the joy. There is no one else I could or would rather be figuring this all out with, sharing this journey with, than him.
I’m grateful, so grateful.
. . .
About my Sweet Caroline.
Have you ever put something off for way too long, then finally decided to do it? Remember that feeling after doing it, though!? The feeling of accomplishment mixed with the, “Why the hell did I wait so long?” for that… she’s that feeling at the end.
The victory, the sweet spot. The, BOOM SAUCE. Check off the list. Fear smacked up and down, that looking back, then smiling moment. Yup, that’s her.
The butterflies on a first date, the silly tingle of a first kiss.
The fingers brushing your side, giving you goosebumps, kinda moments.
Capture that good stuff in a person, and you’d have this beautiful lady looking back at you with captivating blue eyes, pulling you into her soul, aching to be explored.
She has a way of making me open up, on a genuinely deeper level.
A journey of rediscovering myself and self-worth. Parts of me I thought that had packed up, moved away, and were gone forever. She actually gives a shit. She wants to hear about the hurts, the wins, the losses, the ups, the downs, but more importantly, she does it with an open ear, attached to an open heart, rather than an open mouth. She’s not a one-upper kind of person. She’s the lets kick some ass together, kind of person.
The home team.
I’ve longed for a soul mate, mostly because I thought it was a myth, and I like to prove shit, and sometimes people wrong. [Insert rolling eyes emoji here].
Seriously though, this isn’t Hollywood, right?! The love stories of the 1950’s that last for 50 years. That’s kinda gut-wrenching how rare it all is when you really think about it.
How do I find that, and do I deserve it? Well, the answer is YES! YES! YES! We all deserve that! The kick in the balls is, because true love is so rare most of us settle for mediocre or filing into the line at the copycat factory. I can’t live like that, and frankly, I won’t. And guess what, neither will she.
We’ve both experienced tremendous loss. The kind of loss that forces you to either throw in the towel, or win the whole fuckin’ thing. No half ass attempts at this life, this day, or even this very moment. ALL IN. Every minute passing us by, is a minute gone.
Caroline, she holds me accountable. How are you spending your time? That’s the reality we all face, and often times it catches us settling into something that doesn’t really serve us, our passions and/or purpose.
She’s my chapter one, my new day, my sunrise and my sunset. I cherish many people, places, and things from my past, always will. It’s different sharing that with her, though.
I can tell her about all of it without sensing any insecurities, jealousy, or judgement.
She understands me, mostly because she understands herself. Caroline knows Caroline. That to me is the most beautiful thing to ever witness.
A person full of life, confident, BURSTING with laughter, literally. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing her laugh, you’d know exactly what I’m talking about.
Shes contagious. ALL of her. Her walk, her style, her soothing voice, her warm accepting heart, her bear hugs, and her zero fucks to give. A real original love gangsta.
Caroline is a loyal friend, sister, loving mother, daughter and a widow, but my favorite part is her relentless love and curiosity for life.
All of that is undeniably shining through her soul into mine. I’m soaking it up, and for the first time in a long time, I can give it back without any reservations, and honestly, that freedom feels… so good, so good, so good.
She’s most definitely my walk off homer in game 7 kinda feels…