Dear Readers. Here is a repost of something that I put up on Facebook last year. This is a true story and I’ll add a few pictures to spice it up a bit. The story definitely continues as I now have epilepsy but I’m strong and dealing with it.
REPOST from 9/26/2015 last names removed
1 year ago today I started a new chapter in my life. One that shocked my family and my friends. A perfectly healthy man, just 41 happened to have something inside his head throughout his whole entire life. An AVM. Arteriovenous Malformation. Yep…look it up I’m not going to go into details. There are so many people to thank here I don’t even know where to begin. From the subtle thoughts and prayers, visits from friends, people that went out of their way to take care of me and my family; the list goes on. Have you ever heard of Divine Providence?
In theology, Divine Providence, or just Providence, is God’s intervention in the world. In order for me to survive my ordeal the stars truly had to align. In order for me to survive and recover like I have universes and galaxies had to align. The probability of things aligning like they did are so unlikely it’s ridiculous. With that said, someone somewhere is looking upon me and clearly saved me. My mother perhaps? God? I’m not sure but since a year has gone by let me tell you a story.
During Christmas of 2013 Maria bought Kylie and Emily One Direction tickets for a concert down in Charlotte, NC. Maria was supposed to take both girls to go see them. During this time Cynthia and I had plans to go to the Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival like we do every year. Although Maria was taking the girls to see one direction, she was also pregnant with twins.
Let’s thicken the plot. Some of my buddies from work go to see the Penn State Homecoming game every year. This includes RV camping, drinking, bar hopping, bands, more bar hopping and basically complete debauchery Penn State style. Don’t judge, these are good people. My leaders, my managers, work mentors, peers and friends.
Let’s skip back to Maria. Maria was pregnant with twins and she began to have some issues and was in the hospital multiple times. With that in mind, the decision was made that Cynthia and I would not go to the wine festival and Cynthia would take the girls to Charlotte for the concert. So no Wine Festival which enabled me to go to Penn State.
Let’s go back in time….Since my 30’s I’ve always gotten really really bad sinus headaches. Headaches so bad that it would sometimes keep me from going to work. To keep this as short as possible Excedrin was always the cure.
So on a perfectly normal day, doing a little bar hoping and debauchery at Penn State I begin to get a headache. This band was playing (Velveeta), and my friends and I were having a blast. Our tough but very successful 1st quarter was essentially over and it was time to celebrate our successes and burn a little well deserved steam. While having fun my headache began which essentially would not be abnormal for me in the fall timeframe due to allergies. I looked at my friends and said, hey I’m going outside to get some air and find some Excedrin. All normal. This is where things begin to get real. I find myself sitting on a bench and I begin losing control of my arms. I had drank a lot that day but nothing outside of normal or inappropriate; however I’ve never ever had an issue with keeping myself under control, issues with my arms nor acted like this in the past. I begin fighting it however it was out of my control and I could clearly recognize that in my mind. I remember someone walking up to me asking if everything was ok. Now remember this is in a town full of drunk Penn State Alumni on Homecoming weekend. I asked the person to please go downstairs to the bar and find my friends. I gave them my name and my friend’s names and explained I needed an ambulance. They went in, told the band and the initial reaction of one of my buddies was to throw his hands up in the air, begin screaming because he thought I was getting ready to take over the stage and start singing. Ahhhh…..my friends know me all too well!!! Taking over a stage and singing would not be abnormal for me. I’m a rock star!……seriously! Another person asked me again. It happened to be a member of the band that was playing that night and was taking a break. Again, the band was Velveeta. BTW Velveeta, you guys rock!! So the member of the band goes back in the bar, calls my friends names and my name over the PA. When my buddy heard my name he eventually comes outside and finds me in the bushes and I’m slightly covered with leaves. Long story short, they get me in a cab and bring me back to the RV park. As far as my friends know I was just really drunk. When I step out of the cab I immediately fall. At this time my friends can’t get me back to the RV. They ask about 5 or 6 guys to carry my 195lb dead body back. When I get back it begins to get critical. I basically vomit, piss myself and I smacked my head on the ground and my head begins to bleed. Those that know me well understand this never happens to me and a critical decision was made. We can put Will in the RV and he can sleep it off or we can call an ambulance.
My friends call the ambulance and when I get to the hospital because I had a head injury they smartly decided to do a CTSCAN. The CTSCAN revealed my brain was bleeding and it was not a result of my fall, it was a result of a blood stroke. The hospital immediately calls a medevac and they fly me to one of the best brain hospitals in the United States. Penn State Hershey. By this time my friends have called my family and everyone began mobilizing. My sister Karen lives in PA and I believe she arrive around 10 minutes before I arrived. Cynthia and Sharon arrived approximately a half hour later. About an hour later Letha and my Dad arrived and the next day Paula and Mark arrived as they were out of town at a wedding. When Karen and my brother in law Tony arrived they were greeted by a Chaplin. Cynthia and Sharon were also greeted by a Chaplin. Cynthia flat out refused to acknowledge that God had orchestrated this entire situation for me to die on an operating table and would accept nothing less than me coming home with her. Imagine being greeted by a Chaplin when you have no real clue as to what is going on. When Cynthia arrived I was being wheeled up for open brain surgery. She asked if she could see or speak to me and the surgeon said no, there was no time. They brought me into surgery and performed a craniotomy and removed the AVM from my brain.
I remember vaguely waking up with the tubes down my throat. I remember writing stroke with my finger on Cynthia’s hand and I remember her describing a time we went snorkeling and I have to breathe by myself in order to get off the respirator. Will, think of the tube down your throat as the snorkel at Catalina Island. Wrap your mouth around it and breathe through it like a straw. Once you breathe on your own; then they will take it out. At this time it was Cynthia, 3 of my sisters and my dad all surrounding me in a recovery room in ICU. I breathed on my own and they took the tube out. When they finally got it out (which sucks BTW) my sister Letha came close down to my face and said “I bet your glad to get that out of your throat”. With a raspy voice I said “Yeah, I don’t know how you women do it!”. Everyone began to laugh and Cynthia looked over at my dad and said “Dad, do you need me to explain what that means?” I think at that point they were relieved and they knew I was still inside there and everything was going to be ok.
My next memory:
I was sleeping and I hear my family saying. We don’t know any Dante?!?! Dante is on the phone?!?! I said, give me that phone!! I know Dante! He was my first call and one that I’ll never forget. I have so much appreciation for the calls I received its unbelievable. Dante, although we have probably not spoken in years I truly appreciate you calling! It was great to hear a caring voice from so long ago. It was impactful and I appreciate it.
So as you can probably imagine, waking up after having your head cracked open like a pumpkin is pretty crazy. I remember waking up in the morning and seeing one of the nurses caring for me. She was a pretty blonde wearing a pink shirt with blue sleeves. I told her she looked nice and those were definitely her colors. She asked “what colors am I wearing?” I said pink and blue. She said thank you but they’re really red and blue. I thought that was so funny but knew she was probably right. So as you can imagine waking up not being able to move or feel much can be pretty weird. I asked Cynthia if I was a vegetable or if I would ever walk? It was all pretty shocking as at the time I had no feeling below my waist and I could only move the right side of my body. One of the funniest memories I have is me, Mark, Adam, Cynthia and the nurse in the recovery room and suddenly by the grace of God (even though I had no feeling below my waist) my wonderful genitalia start itching. I reach my right hand high up in the air with excitement dig deep under my hospital gown and vigorously start scratching exclaiming that “My balls itch!” As you can probably imagine at 41 to know that the GOODS still have feeling was an amazing experience!! The nurse and everyone in the room busted out laughing!! We’re all laughing and the surgeon walks in with an odd look on his face because he has no idea what is going on. I reach over with my right hand, shake the surgeons hand and Mark says “hey man you maayyyyy want to wash that hand.” And we all start laughing Later Mark says, “OMG I think they cut all of Wills filters out of his head”. At this point I literally had no filters whatsoever.
I think the surgeon was very impressed with my recovery and happy that I was awake. The reality of the next conversation sunk deep. The surgeon basically said “You were dying on the table when you came to me.” That’s a pretty humbling thing to hear. I believe that I was probably around 1-20 minutes from dying. I don’t think they thought I would wake up and the surgeon clearly set Cynthia’s expectations very low. I think his initial goal was just to get me off the respirator if that would even happen.
A few days later my boss Ryan, Eric, Adam, Mark and Mario came for a visit. I remember Cynthia wheeling me around in a wheelchair outside and I was getting sick from all the movement. We went to grab a bite to eat with them in the cafeteria. We talked and I was loud and probably surrounded by families with children, old people etc. Apparently I was a little more than loud, was using foul language and my filters were a little off kilter. Cynthia said, “Will tone it down a little”. Well I made it known “I can say whatever the F#$% I want to say! I almost died and I had brain surgery!!”. I think I probably shocked a few people but oh well….life is short and frankly at that point, I didn’t care about a thing in the world. I was just happy to be breathing. I enjoyed my friends visit and as each of them left, I kissed each of them on the hand and said thank you and that I love them. To this day I appreciate the visit. The empowerment of that visit was amazing and it was highly appreciated and will never be forgotten from each of them. I can close my eyes as I write this and see them all and the moment I said goodbye. So for me, this was the moment where it was time to get down to business. Again, thank you for the visit! Additionally I appreciate all the opportunities each of you guys have given me in life. The mentoring, teaching, guiding, partnerships and believing in me are all truly appreciated. I thank each of you for your friendship, caring and love.
So from here it was off to physical, occupational and speech therapy. In short I had the dream team. The speech therapist initially had no idea why I was seeing her, as I could speak fine, the occupational therapist was quiet, sweet and a little on the timid side and the physical therapist was essentially a Jedi Master. He was Master Yoda. We clicked and he truly challenged me. There were many times that I would ask myself, why are you guys making me do all this stuff….when I made it back to the real world it all made sense. I mean going to an IHOP on a Sunday morning when you just relearned how to walk three weeks ago was a pretty overwhelming experience. Seriously it was!!
There is truly so much to write about this experience it is crazy. I could literally write a book. With that said I’m stopping this with me getting home and going to IHOP. This story has continued with me getting back to work, jumping out of planes, skiing, riding my motorcycle, mountain bike, driving running, hiking, relearning to tie my shoes, relearning to type on a computer a mach speed and just enjoying life.
Let me give some long winded shoutouts:
Mom- I told you when I woke up and literally pointed at the ceiling and yelled “I’m not ready to come see you yet!” I’m still not ready and I’ll fight like a lion just like you did till the very end!! Thanks for making me mentally strong, disciplined, perhaps slightly OCD and with an awkward sense of humor. Those traits carried me through this and will continue to carry me through life. You truly live inside me every day, live in our entire family and I hope we all make you proud. We miss you dearly……apparently according to Cynthia I was talking to you in my sleep last night saying…..I’m still here!!!
Dad- Thank you for being the gentle, caring and kind soul that you are. I know you worry, but don’t worry about me. I have the intestinal fortitude of a Marine, the speed of a leopard, the strength of a bear and the determination of a house cat chasing its tail. Wait, has a house cat ever actually caught its tail? My point is I will persevere and will be ok. I remember calling you while in recovery. “Don’t worry Dad! I’ve got this!”. And I’ve still got this; I promise! Love you Dad!
My sisters- Thank you for your love, caring, grace and being there when I need you most. My life in the last two years has been a rollercoaster, a tidal wave but a blessing. Thank you all for your support, for never judging me and for each of your ears when I needed to bend them. Each of you are appreciated and each of you in your own way bring something unique to my life. You’re truly loved and I’ve learned and relearned so many lessons this year and each of you have played a part in that whether you realize it or not. Thank you again.
Rob D.- You are a good man my friend. Forgiving, caring and graceful. You’ve certainly had a rough year. I do remember you coming to visit me after your very special uncle passed. I’m lying in bed and you hugged me and cried. I appreciate the love my friend. You’re very special to me and I truly appreciate your friendship and you being here through thick and thin. God has a special place for you in heaven and a special place in my heart.
Craig and Jean S.- thank you both for your love and support. I appreciate you both for believing in me when it could actually be hard to believe. I went on my journey and I’ve returned and I appreciate you both very much. I want you to know I keep all of the birthday and Christmas cards that you give me in one location to read at another time. I plan to read them many years from now as I believe they encapsulate you both; your love, your kindness and thoughtfulness. Thank you both for giving me Cynthia.
Jeff B. Long time high school friend. Our discussion while in rehab meant alot to me. You helped remind me of who I am, where I came from and how I accomplish things. You gave me confidence and affirmation of who I am, what I do and how I do it. Thank you! Your phone call was impactful, it makes me smile and it’s unforgettable. Thank you for your friendship over the years.
John D.- I called you crying like a banshee because I felt like Karma had gotten me. A Drunk Marine we know cracked his skull when we were younger and I began to feel guilty because I never visited him when he was in the hospital. He had to go through what I was about to experience. Full rehabilitation. Our conversation was critical! You said not to worry about that person. Be strong and rehabilitate and do your thing. You see this all the time in your job doing MRI’s etc and it’s the positive mental attitude of those injured that get through to recovery. Semper Fi Marine and I hope to see you again in the future.
Tom H. Tom, it’s great to see you as a motivated 1st Sergeant in my beloved Marine Corps. I’m so very proud of you and thank you for the encouragement that you provided me even if it was over Facebook. You’re a strong and powerful leader and your simple reminders of my foundational principles that we live by carried me further than you’ll know. Continue to lead my friend and may God bless you and your family always my friend.
Steve C.- thank you for ministering to me in one of my weakest moments. It’s not often that I cry my friend let alone to another Marine. Your council has always inspired me. I think you are right. God connected me to you for a reason. That reason may not yet be fulfilled but it may have with our conversation. Thank you, you’ve always inspired me to be better and I continue to use your example to help guide me in many more ways than you may know.
Mario V.- The all-knowing. The person who knows the good, the bad and the ugly about me. You’ve probably seen me at my very best and probably at my very worst. Whether you realize it or not I’ve learned a tremendous amount from you. I appreciate you partnering with me at work but most of all I appreciate our friendship. You are forgiving of my mistakes, non-judgmental and help me see things a different way. I love you and Kate and look forward to hanging with you guys when we’re old and crusty. Thanks for being a good friend and lending an ear when I needed it.
Lori S.- Thank you for coming to visit me when I got home. You’ve always been one of my favorite people. We get so busy at work and I wish we all had more time to hang out. Thank you again for your visit. Your smile, your hugs and caring brought me a lot of joy and I truly appreciate it. Also, thank you for the Afro wig and the underwear/shorts with a cape. Cynthia and I about fell on the floor laughing when we opened it up. That type of gift shows you know us so very well but also really made our day!
Adam N. thanks for everything. You were the main reason I went to Penn State! Thanks for invite! If I would not have gone, I probably would have died in my sleep at Smith Mountain Lake after the wine festival. Your visit in October on my birthday was perfect. I thought I was ready to go back to work and in perfect and classic Adam Nowak fashion you said, “No you’re not”. Let me tell you a sports analogy from back when I played football. See, the two star players on the team were injured. If they would have come back before they were ready they would have injured themselves more………. So on and so on…..I appreciate the guidance as I was not ready to come back. I also appreciate you allowing me to lean on you as a friend when it was needed most. I truly appreciate your friendship and guidance.
Eric W. thank you for not abusing me too much on the golf course even though I really am a better golfer. Thank you for the opportunities that you’ve provided me as I truly appreciate it. Also thank you for coming to visit me while in PA. Until you’ve experienced something like this you’ll never truly grasp what a simple visit from a friend can do for the morale of someone who is about to tackle a recovery like mine. I kissed your hand and said I love you for a reason my friend. It was an impactful moment and I appreciate your visit. Also, thank you for allowing me to bend your ear. I know it can be painful but I’ve always said a bitching Marnie is a happy Marine. Thank you for letting me vent.
Ryan A.- thank you for coming to visit me with everyone. If we go back in time you were my hiring manager at work. Whether you realize it or not and for better or worse you have helped craft part of who I am, how I work and I appreciate the opportunities you provided me to grow in my job, my career and in life. They’re all intertwined in one way or another. As leaders we can often think “Have I even had an impact on these people, their careers and in life?” Well you certainly have and have trained me well. We both know that I still have room for growth but I do appreciate you and the opportunities you have presented me. Note, I will take some time to work on my forecasting hahaha…….
Sean M. and Kevin B. thanks for the phone calls, the texts and just checking in on me. A simple phone call can lift a man’s spirit and bring motivation and dedication. This will never be forgotten and it was and still is greatly appreciated. I would often think even after I got home how much I appreciated you guys checking in on me an even mentioned it to a few people. These simple things make a difference and I appreciated it. Sean thank you for taking me and Cynthia to Lunch and thank you both for your humor. Humor and laughter is a very healing medicine.
Jack, Andy, Kelly – Thank you all for taking me to lunch when I returned home. A simple gesture like this goes a long long way. Being able to tell my story to friends and you taking the time out of your day to simply care means a lot to me.
Liz- Dearest Liz. You’ve been an Angel! Someone has to take care of Cynthia and Kylie when I just couldn’t. Thank you for your grace, your strength and for not being judgmental. I appreciate our talks from the past that reminded me of my future and I appreciate you believing in me. You are special to my family and are more than just a friend. Thank you for being an angel and thank you for being here when we all needed you most.
Judy N.- Although we have never met face to face I appreciate you very very much. Its funny that I check your Facebook page often to see what kind of picture or wisdom that you post on your page. It always inspires me and I take a step back and think about what you are posting, why and how I may be able to apply it to my life. I felt your prayers and your love so very far away. It is clear to me that you are truly a special person and you are chosen. Thank you for ministering to Cynthia in her time of need. It was very impactful and I believe has brought us closer together.
Andy F.- Andy, I barely know you man….yet I met you through Adam at Penn State. First, sorry for causing so much drama with my stroke when everyone was just trying to have a good time. I do appreciate you helping me connect some of the dots over the last year in the aftermath. Please give your wife and your friends a good thank you from me. I can only imagine how I probably freaked everyone out. One minute this tall (and slightly dapper) dude is sitting here having a beer with us and next minute he is being transported on a helicopter for an unknown reason. Note, I was so intrigued getting in touch with the band Velveeta, understanding how they fit into the puzzle and the fact that they remembered the whole thing. Additionally, I contacted lifelion and had some dialog with them. Anyway, I hope you are doing well and thanks again for everything. I’m sure we will meet again at some point and I wish you well.
Lori and Carroll C.- We have known each other for a long long time and have seen me and Cynthia through a lot. Thank you for the tee shirts and thank you for the tee shirts and the Marine Corps pimp cane. It made one of the most hilarious yet classic photographs ever taken in combination with the Afro wig. I look like Horshack from way back in the 70s. Carroll, I appreciate over time you checking in on me or coming by the house even after all the recovery business was complete. You making yourself available shows you truly care. The texts after something goes wrong, the calls and the visits. All truly appreciated.
Brian and Jennifer- First, I’m truly excited for you both. Marriage is a great journey and you both are perfect for each other. I’m excited that you both are taking this important step. Thank you both for being here for me in my times of tribulation and thank you both for being there for Cynthia. Your friendship, your kindness and your caring are all so appreciated. Thank you Brian for your messages on Facebook and the funny pictures you send. It brightens my day whether you realize it or not.
Ron and Tracey- I remember when Cynthia and I set you guys up. Seems like a million years ago! It’s amazing how we have all changed but also amazing how nothing has changed. Thank you both for being there in my time of need and have continued to be there for both me and Cynthia as I’ve gone through the good the bad and the ugly in the aftermath of recovery. I appreciate the gesture of sending me to the Taxslayer bowl with Ronnie as I needed that. It was nothing short of truly EPIC to be sitting in Florida in a massive stadium with beautiful weather watching a football game in the middle of winter. Thank you again for your prayers, your thoughtfulness and your friendship. Also, thank you so much for coming to the house and getting it squared away before I came home. You both are a part of an amazing support system and I’m forever grateful.
John S.- John thank you for your visit while in therapy and your continued friendship over the years. You have always been a close friend a peer, a mentor and have always motivated me. Its been phenomenal to watch you grow over the years and begin to achieve your full potential. Whether that is through your Ironmans or at work. We can all take a lesson from you and I look forward to watching you continue to grow and achieve. I myself still have some work to do, some goals to accomplish and I’ll keep you posted as I complete them. I assure you my journey is far from over and I look forward to crossing some finish lines in the future and I hope you can be there to share the moment with me.
Bill E., Joe R. and Judy R. – You guys have impacted thousands of people through your careers as teachers. I wanted to thank each of you for your impact on my life. You each taught me responsibility, accountability, reliability, English, Music and have stood the test of time as examples to me. Each of you helped craft the person I am today. I caught on Facebook the opportunity to see you at a concert when I made it back from Pennsylvania. I assure you I didn’t want to miss the chance to just see you guys for a moment just to get a glimpse of the good ol days. I hope each of you enjoy your retirement and know that you all served your students well, had huge impact on many lives to include mine.
Steve and Kelly- Thanks for all that you did while I was in therapy. It was so good to see you both and a friendly caring face while in a foreign place is so important while you are trying to recover from something like this. I know Cynthia appreciates everything you guys did for us and the time you guys spent with us was awesome. I thank you both for your love, your humor and overall caring. This goes so far and it truly strengthens my soul.
John and Theresa- Thank you for all the good times that we have shared. You two are an amazing couple and I truly enjoy hanging out. John, we have known each other for years and it has been great being your friend. The thing that I key in on most is this. When I receive a text message from a hard corps highly motivated Marine Corps Devil Dog like you that says “Will, I’m worried about you” what you really mean is, Will, I love you man, I am worried about you and I need to give you a hug brother…haha. John thank you for your caring and your friendship. It’s greatly appreciated and I look forward to being friends well into our 70’s or 80’s and talking about the good ol’ days.
Jim and Jessica- I just want you to know that I love you guys. You guys are truly the best. Even through the silly things that we’ve all been through I cannot imagine life without our friendship. I appreciate after all the rehab being able to visit you guys and just enjoy our craziness. You guys are the best and I love you. As I started to reflect on this whole incident I did realize that right before it all happened I spent the weekend before at Jessica’s EPIC birthday party. The amazing thing about that is if something would have gone wrong at least we were able to share some final moments together enjoying our friendship in what we do best. Just having fun. The good news is everything turned out ok and there will be many more times that we get to hang out, have fun and be our crazy selves. Thank you both and look forward to the next time we get to hang out.
David and Dina- You two are truly spectacular people. Dina you are a caring soul and David you are one of the most giving and thoughtful people I have ever met. Each of you spent time cleaning up my house, squaring my yard away and preparing for my arrival home and that is greatly appreciated. You each are a part of a very important support system for me and Cynthia and please know that there is never a day that you are not appreciated. You each have a very important gift and that gift is about loving and caring deeply for your friends. It shows through your actions and God has a very special place reserved for you both in heaven.
Sal Salisbury- Sal, you and I had an interesting conversation. You asked how things were going and I gave you my story. The most interesting thing that stands out is what you asked. “Is there anything you need. How are you doing financially?” I said everything is fine.” In true Sal S. fashion you exclaimed “I don’t know about the rest of these bozo’s but I’ll tell you this, if you need anything; money whatever you let me know. If you need 10 grand, I’ve got you covered and I’m not just saying that because it’s the right thing to say.” paraphrased without curse word etc. haha. The reality is I know that If I asked you’d be there to help me out in whatever capacity you could and I’ve got no doubt about that. Thank you again for your friendship.
Maria and Emily and the twins- Thank you guys for being in my life. Emily it has been amazing to watch you grow up into a beautiful teenager with a beautiful smile. Know this sweetheart, life brings with it many challenges. We all are dealt a certain deck of cards. Some better than others. Late in life I received an interesting and challenging hand but I made the very best of it and came out on top. I need you to come out on top too! What’s important to know is you have a mom that loves and adores you and a big big family that loves and adores you. I look forward to watching you continue to grow up and take life by the horns. Maria, who would have thought that those two boys of yours would have such an impact on my life. I think you have a very important story to tell these guys later in life. I hope they realize what a blessing they are to you and RJ yet what a blessing they are to me and Cynthia. It is amazing to see how things line up to impact me and so many other people and those two little guys were the start of something big.
Mark, Jacob, Matthew and Landon-Guys…..first, we have all truly been through some crazy times!! But also some very good times. Each of us has a story to tell and each one of you to include myself has truly grown over the years. Know this. I’m truly proud of each of you. It’s been truly amazing watching each of you grow up. We’ve been through challenges, fun, smiles, laughter and some things that we’ll leave unwritten. But it’s all of it has been worth knowing and loving each of you. It is nothing short of amazing watching each of you become men, find yourselves, grow out of being boys, chase your passions and find contentment in life. Remember this, happiness is not about how much you earn, the big achievements in life, how big your house is or what kind of car you drive. It’s about surrounding yourself with good people, people you can trust, people you love This adventure is not over yet so they’ll be more memories to create in the future. Love you all.
Kylie it is amazing watching you grow up into the young lady that you have become. Over the last year you have truly seen a lot of very grown up things. With that said, you have handle them with a great deal of maturity and strength. When I was your age, I never would have dreamed of encountering what you have encountered. You are incredibly special to me and your mother and I’ll always be here to take care of you, laugh with you and will always love you no matter what. I look forward to watching you become a woman one day and putting your gifts and talents to good use. You are such a giving, loving and caring person and you make me proud each and every day.
MaryAnn- Thank you for coming to see me while I was in rehab. You lifted my spirits and Cynthia has told me many times some great stories of when we were all sitting together talking. I enjoyed the carrot cake that you made and appreciate the love you have shown to me and my family.
Jim- Thank you for believing in me. Our conversation was critical as I mentioned previously. I told you that I would be back to work soon and you said “Will, if there is anyone that can do it, it is definitely you.” I lived it and I’m back. Thank you for your encouragement, leadership and friendship. It goes a long way and you’ll definitely be missed while you take on your next challenges.
Ginger and Kristen- Long long childhood friends. Ladies I can’t think of the last time I saw you. It’s been well over 20+ years!! I can say that your visit was extremely impactful. Both of you have joyous spirits, and amazing hearts. You coming to visit me in my time of tribulation was critical and the appreciation goes so far and it will always be unforgettable. Thank you both and love you both.
Shelly- Shelly, as I mentioned previously your note and gift to me was so well timed and appreciated its crazy. You sent me a fitbit and your note said to count the many steps to come and I received your gift on the day I took my first steps. It inspired me further and the funny eyeball sleep mask was hilarious. It freaked a few nurses out and my daughter continues to use it to this day.
Team at Work- Team, you guys are spectacular. Thank you for the Microsoft Band, the gift card and the amazing Yeti Cooler. Ironically as I write this I’m camping and using the Yeti right now. When I think about our team, we did and accomplished amazing things and tackled some of the most ambiguous and crazy engagements that we’ll probably ever encounter. Thank you for your performance, your motivation and your thoughts and prayers while I was gone. You all made me strive to be better and it was a pleasure to go to firefights, fight battles and win wars with each of you.
Gordon- Gordon boy did you come into the family at a crazy time. I appreciate everything that you have endured so far. Thank you for your visits when I had some troubled times, thank you for your council and thank you for your example. You’re a great guy and I appreciate how you have been so giving to Sharon and helped transform her outlook on things. Its very impactful and greatly appreciated.
1st Choice Realty- Thank you for supporting me and Cynthia during such a crazy time.
Mary Seymour- Mary, thank you for all of your support, prayers and on my return coming to the house to get it squared away and cleaning. Your thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated.
Cali and New Jersey Fam- Thank you all for your much needed prayers and support for both me and Cynthia. We’ve all experienced some challenging times over the last couple of years and your prayers and thoughts for me and Cynthia were felt from far far away.
Mary- Thank you for coming to visit me. Your hugs and love are greatly appreciated and I’ve always appreciate your contagious laugh. May god always bless you and you and Conner and our whole family.
Aunt Joan and Uncle Paul- Thank you both for just being you. I’ve always love you both as you’re exceptional loving people who have always welcomed me into your home and in your family. I look forward to spending more time with you in the future, enjoying more good times and laughs. Please know you both are near and dear to my heart.
Nieces and Nephews- It has been nothing short of amazing watching each of you grow up, get married, have kids and grow. We do have a few more weddings to go and more kids to come! I wish each of you the very best in life. Learn from your parents and pay attention to their achievements as well as their mistakes. You can truly learn from them. Pay attention to the simple things in life. Don’t worry about what clothes you wear, don’t worry about what kind of car you drive or how big your house is. Worry about your spouse, your children and the memories that you build and the love you share. This material world that we live in means very little. It’s your family and your friends that you should truly appreciate. Love you all
Keith and Roni- You guys were my prayer warriors and I know you got so many people outside of our family to pray for me. Thank you both for being there in my time of need and reaching above and beyond to get me and Cynthia much needed prayers while we went through the rehab process.
Mark- You receive the honorary Will W. lifetime achievement award. You saw me at probably the worst time of my life. You got me to the hospital, on a helicopter, communicated with Cynthia and got the ball rolling. Without you I’d be dead. I think you’ve seen enough action to last you a lifetime.
Thanks for your decisive action when it was needed most. I have literally traced back events to you,
Ryan and David. Yes, slight OCD. If I never would have met Dave, if I never would have met Ryan in a meeting at the DEA, I never would have had you as a TAM. I remember talking about a Premier survey and I remember you hounding me about working on remediation items for an Exchange RAP. If these events never occurred I never would have joined Microsoft and I never would have made it to Penn State. You and I have been in some interesting situations over the years. Fun situations, crazy situations and so on and I would change none of them. Nor would I actually write about them. Did I just say that?!?!? As Cynthia has said many times, you have gone above and beyond in being a critical part of saving my life. I don’t say this lightly…..you’ve impacted a lot of people with your courageous actions and you should be extremely proud of how you performed under a tremendous amount of pressure. Thank you for everything. I Love you bro.
Dr. Rizk- Sir you have an amazing gift and thank you for sharing that gift with me as well as with the world. I have connected with some people to include children’s parents that have very similar stories as mine and its magnificent the impact you have had on them in saving their lives. These young kids will now have normal lives, get to experience and appreciate the joys that life provides us all. I will meet you again and I assure you that I will pass on the blessings that you have given me and I will strive to be better than I am today.
And Finally——drum roll please…….
Dearest Cynthia! First and foremost I love you with everything I’ve got! You’ve fulfilled and lived your wedding vows to the T in some crazy times. We’ve learned a lot, experienced a lot yet we have persevered through a great journey that has gone full circle to one distinct fact. We love each other dearly and nothing can or will ever change that.
I, Cynthia take you, Will to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.
You should be proud of how you have lived this!
Well girl you’re not getting off easy as I’m not dying off anytime soon!! But in all seriousness thank you for taking care of me. Not just when I’m healthy, but also when I’m at my very worst. Whether it’s in the hospital, when I’ve given you hard times or good, you’ve always been my biggest fan, my greatest supporter and my rock. Thank you for your grace and for believing in the man that I am. Grace has many meanings and definitions however you exemplify all of them. Neither of us is perfect. We both know that. But we are truly awesome and perfect together. God has a very special place for you. It’s in the hearts and the minds of the many people that you touch all the time. Thank you for all that you do and for what you do for everyone. You have a miraculous gift and I’m truly blessed to experience that gift on a daily basis. You keep me calm when it’s a perilous moment and give me my strength, courage and fortitude when I’m tired and weak. There are not enough words to describe or tell the tale of how you have helped me. You’re my wife, my nurse, my lover and my friend. My God bless you always and bless our home, our children, our friends, family and our lives. We WILL be sitting on a porch one day gracefully rocking on some rocking chairs. We’ll be senile and laughing about that day when it all started at a bar and we fell in love.
What can we all learn from this???
It’s not all about me. It’s all about each of you. My family, my friends, my support system and all the people that contributed to my success and my recovery. Again, there are so many people that I could thank here I could literally write and write and write. You either contacted me to see how I was doing or I at the very least thought about you over the last year. One of my sisters said it best….paraphrased. It’s amazing how quickly we forget. After all my family has seen and been thorough. Tragedy here a tragedy there, we do forget sometimes how precious life is and the loved ones around us. We simply need to do better to remember. I’ll paraphrase Dave Matthews…..we get up in the morning, we get ready for work and we travel up the road day in and day out. We participate in this machine called life. We’re a cog in a wheel that keeps going round and round and round. My simple message to each of you is, as you travel through life don’t forget the important things. Your family, your friends and the people that love you. Life can be stripped from us in an instant and stripped from your loved ones. Make good use of your time on this earth. Live, love and enjoy everything it has to offer!! Count your blessing but also share them with others. Stick to the simple things. Enjoy them, they’re the most important. Don’t be so proud to realize that you have made a mistake and know that you’re not perfect. Just forgive and forget. Life’s too short to hold grudges or be angry. May God bless all of you. Thank you Cynthia for being a warrior and being my rock…..and Mom??? I’ll see you in a blink!
Do take care my friends,