In December, we decided to come back to New Orleans to visit for the Christmas Holidays. It was a bitter sweet visit. My Grandma was starting to slow down quite a bit. We knew Grandma was sick and she was starting to retain fluid. We had nice visits with the entire family while we were in New Orleans over the Christmas Holiday. This was the first time my daughter had actually seen the Engagement Ring I bought for her. We had gone out to dinner with a few of my friends along with my daughter. During dinner that night, My daughter asked my now fiancé if she could see the ring I bought for her. I could tell she was trying to be happy for me, but at the same time she was very guarded about her Mom. I guess down deep I could understand. She decided to pull her hand from under that table and showed my daughter the ring I gave her. Immediately, my daughter looked directly at me and without skipping a breath says, and I quote, “You never gave Mom anything that looked like that”. Oh my God, I didn’t know which way to turn and how to answer that statement. With a cool head, She immediately looked right at my daughter and said, and I quote, “Your dad gave your Mom the best diamond ring he could afford at the time they got engaged” The size of Diamond in a Ring does not mean how much he loved your Mother. Your Mom and Dad married very young and he gave her the very best Diamond Ring he could afford at the time they got engaged.” Wow, what an answer. My daughter seemed to change her tone with me immediately. I never thought of this before. Actually, I was only prepared for a comment like, oh dad, that looks nice or something even more simple, ring is pretty, with an attitude.
After several days, we decided to return to Charlotte, NC for the Christmas Holiday. As time moved on my grandma became sicker. I decided to return to New Orleans soon after the first of the year. This time I went alone. I spent time with my grandma and knew her days were not long for the rest of the year. I had one-on-one quality time with grandma and we said our final goodbyes. I knew this was going to be the last time I saw her alive. My grandma meant the world to me. She was so very special. I still miss her to this day. My hunch was right. I received a call in late February that grandma had passed. During my visit, I told grandma that we were planning to get married in March. Unfortunately, she never lived to see us married.
After returning back from New Orleans, I married on March 26th, 1998 at an Industrial Park near where we lived. We only had about 12 people at our outdoor Ceremony. It was a small quaint wedding. Soon after, we decided we were going to sell her home so she could settle with her ex. We decided to move into a 3 story townhome while we built our first home in a new subdivision in south Charlotte. The stress of building a home took a toll on me. We had tried to do some upgrades and of course I had nothing but problems with the contractor. I think I scared her a bit. She saw a side of me I never exposed to her. I had a temper and sometimes, I would take my frustrations I had with the contractor out on her. Well this was not good since we had only been married for less than a month. I started to gain weight again, as this was always my go to when things became rough. It got so bad with the contractor, I met him at the home and actually threatened to walk away from the home. Finally, I received a call from the VP of Sales. He apologized for the problems I was having and replaced the main job foreman assigned to build our home. By the time I had a new contractor, I had been given several more upgrades at no charge, but my temper still didn’t sit too well with my 2nd Wife. My greed for taking advantage of the situation was evident. Unfortunately, I made no apologies always thinking I was right even when I could have been absolutely wrong. I guess I was feeling sorry for me and started pushing the envelope to see what I could get as compensation. This bickering with the contractor became one of our very first disagreements. Now that I look back, she was absolutely 100% correct. I was the one turning into a bully and I had greed written all over my face!!
Will to Live – Gluttony – Part 36