The last few days, (OK scratch that...the last few months) I have been such an emotional basket case! No really, I have! lol I cry at EVERYTHING, no matter what it is. I find myself hibernating in my house and my gumption to do anything with my friends have gone to zero!! That in itself is nuts because until just recently, I was a social butterfly - I was never at home. I lived out of my clean laundry basket and I never had any food in the house 'cause there was no need, I wouldn't be home to eat in anyways! Now I find myself doing the complete opposite. I'm ALWAYS at home, my laundry for the most part is caught up and not wrinkled, (it's even on a hanger in my closet!!!) and the food...holy crap my fridge hasn't been that full in quite some time. I talk on the phone to my friends daily, often times it's 2 or more phone calls in one day but I see them rarely. I have hit the time of year where I am starting to get depressed...in fact, I've most likely been depressed for some time now but I am just now realizing the symptoms.
I realized yesterday while laying on my couch, that one year ago tomorrow (Thurs.) that I woke up blind - completely blind as a matter of fact. I spent last New Year's in St. Joseph's hospital having a million and 5 tests run to find the possible cause of the sudden blindness. That was such a scary, scary moment. I remember everyone coming to the hospital just to be there, hoping & praying that I would be able to see them...hell I was doing the most praying...I was only 29 years old, there was still stuff I wanted to see for myself, not have someone try to explain it to me!! The thinking about that incident lead to other thoughts, thoughts that made me feel sorry for myself...I NEVER do that! I NEVER complain about my health, or my life for that matter, and if I do, you know for sure that something really is wrong!! All this thinking prompted lots and lots of tears...and even more tears! It made me think of the last 10 years and how much things have changed for me. I got to thinking about the people who were in my life then, and who are not in my life now. I started thinking about the hardships and the struggles, the love and the anger. With that, I wrote a timeline of my "adventures" and decided that I would "dissect" it all, hoping to make some peace with those things in my life that still haunt me.
To be fair with my timeline, I have to go back a little farther, to 1999 to be exact, in order to show you just how it is that I got here!
1999 - I was living in College Station working at Scott & White Clinic. I met the "man of my dreams" Blake Bramlett. I was also fired from Scott & White the same year and get this - they said I wasn't nice enough!! What the hell...whatever, I moved on. We (Blake & I) decided we were in love and moved back to the little town of Brenham. He started working at Moeller Electric as an electrician and I got hired at Buddy's Appliance as a parts and service coordinator.
2001 - Blake & I decided to get married!! We got hitched on February 16, 2011 at Festival Hill in Round Top. Turns out though, while I was happy go lucky and getting married, my Dad was all happy go frisky and cheating on my Mom. They separated in June of 2001. My Mom & I caught him with Abby Neumann at Sanders Place, drinking a beer and kissing each other. Dad was pissed, I cussed him, he carried me out of the bar by my throat.
2002 - In April, I noticed a lump under my arm...was very painful and growing like the wind. At this time, my primary care Dr. was Dr. Hood, the Mrs. Hood. I went to see her for a consult on it and she sent me on to a surgeon in College Station after a round of antibiotics didn't make it any better, saying that it was most likely a situation where removal was my best plan of action. I was referred to Dr. Richard Benavides in College Station. He proceeded to agree with Dr. Hood, it needed to come out. Told me it was a tumor, mostly of fatty tissue that just became inflamed and grew together around the nerve which is what caused the horrible pain. The surgery was done in June that year, the lump was gone, I layed on the couch for 3 days, and before you know it I was back at work like nothing ever happened. Shortly after going back to work, my arm was hurting me again right where the tumor had just been removed. I was supposed to be back to 100% and should have zero pain as he put it. When I called their office to ask about it, he told me it was nothing to worry with, but if I wanted to get a second opinion, that I was welcome to do so. That is just what I did. I spent weeks trying to get into the wellness/diagnosis clinic at MD Anderson Cancer Center, just to make sure that wasn't an issue. I spent the first day having a million and 5 tests run, talking with Dr's, watching videos, etc. and was sent home on the first night - they told me that I most likely had a sarcoma, but they would have the results the following day and I should come back first thing in the morning. Sarcoma is CANCER...I was ONLY 22 years old, I was a newlywed, I had just bought a new home.....I was too young for that!! So I waited until the next day came around and I met with the Dr's again. Their official diagnoses...Lupus. Ok, Lupus was not good at all but it was much better then that "C" word in my mind. So, they scheduled an appt for me to see a Rheumatologist for further testing. While all this health stuff was going on, my Mom and Dad were in mediation over their impending divorce and on October 31st - Halloween day, my parents divorce was officially final. I was 22 years old. By this time, my Dad & I had ZERO contact...he was still with the woman he cheated with and living with her. My brother and I were terribly hurt and even more furious. We asked him to chose us over his new girlfriend, and guess what...he chose her. Our non-existent relationship would continue for 5 years. In December of 2002, the 20th to be exact, I found myself in the hospital in Spring Branch. You see, that same arm that had the tumor removed got super swollen and turned super blue. I was rushed in to see the Dr. and his words exactly were "Mrs. Bramlett, you need to call your husband and let him know where you are because we just scheduled you for emergency surgery - we will be removing your arm today"! "Holy shit, what the hell did you just say"? Keep in mind, I was ONLY 22 years old...this was just too damn much for me to handle. The Dr. wasn't kidding...that's the quickest I had ever been seen. Thankfully my Mom went with me and was there to talk to me and calm me down....I was a nervous wreck! I know she was too, but she didn't have time to think about her, she was busy calling Blake and trying to explain to him what was going on. I gathered my thoughts at this point, asked the Dr's to make sure that I absolutely HAD to lose my arm, I asked them to run every test possible to make 100 % certain, knowing that my life would drastically change if I came back home missing an arm. They called in a handful of specialists and ran all the tests...within a few hours of getting an IV antibiotic and prednisone push, my arm was less blue and seemed to be getting smaller in size. With those findings, the decision was made to push the highest dosage of prednisone over night and see where we stood the next day. Turns out, all I was having was an "episode or flare up" caused by this new auto-immune disease that I was diagnosed with and had no time at all to learn about. After a few days, I was begging to be released - you see, it was Christmas. I wanted to be at home for Christmas with my family - and after all the craziness in the days prior, I really felt like I needed to be in church, I needed to thank God for watching over me.
2003 - Life was pretty ordinary by this time. We were enjoying our time together, I was starting to get the itch to do some volunteer work and Blake & I decided together to take the Citizen's Police Academy that was being offered by the Brenham Police Dept.It started in January of that year. We went every Thursday for our classes that we both LOVED! Then, one Thursday in February, I was again en route to the hospital in Spring Branch...this time for my legs. I couldn't move them...not even a little. Turns out, I woke up paralyzed from the waist down. Of course when Mom & I got to the ER, they admitted me immediately! I was put in a gown, given some meds through IV, hooked up to some monitors and before Mom and I knew it, we were on the elevator. When the door opened, I thought I was headed to my room to wait for my Rheumatologist to come in a do some tests, turns out, that elevator door opened to the Intensive Care Unit. "What the hell?" that's all I could say, and I did say just that, out loud, several times!! By this time, I was crying, Mom was crying and Blake was back at work...after all someone had to make some money. I was past the point of out of our few days sick time and I had run out of vacation time...I was not bringing any money in. Blake had no choice...he worked while Mom stayed with me. After 5 days in ICU and a ton of tests later, it was another "flare up", one that would last 2 weeks. I spent 2 weeks of my life in a wheelchair. My Mom pushed me everywhere!! With all this sickness and all those medications (especially the prednisone) was gaining a TON of weight. None of my clothes fit and I felt like a beached whale! After all, for 2 weeks all I could do was sit...you can't do any exercise that way! Lol I was ever so thankful the day I finally got my feelings back in my legs! The first thing I did was go to Wal-Mart and walk the aisles just because I could!! lol Then, a few months later, I got to feeling bad again. Upset stomach, always super tired and just felt overall crummy! I made an appt with Dr. Hood because with all the health drama I had previously gone through, I wasn't taking any chances! Like normal, they asked for a urine sample at this appt. After doing all that, I was put back in the room waiting for my turn to see the Dr. She came in the room literally grinning from ear to ear and laughing at me! To my TOTAL SHOCK she showed me that I was not sick, in fact I was PREGNANT!!! & from there you can guess what I said, "What the hell...are you serious?" Ha,HA...seems like that's all I had been saying for months now! lol Oh yes, I was 9 weeks pregnant. I never even thought about pregnancy because I was on so much medication at this point, I hadn't had a regular period for sometime. I called Blake and made him come to the Dr's office...he was totally shocked! Happy as could be but completely shocked! It was the next logical step for us, after all we had been married for 2 years, we had a new house that room for a little one, so we were very happy! I got to experience pregnancy for only two weeks, as by recently found disease had killed my pregnancy. My happiness level plummeted and I was now extremely sad. I cried for a few days, talked with Blake alot about it and moved on. We decided that if God saw to it for us to have a child, he would make it happen. In this same year, I was lucky enough to be offered a job with Washington County as a Chief Court Clerk....I would be working at the Justice of the Peace office with Judge Douglas Cone. I was super thrilled...finally something good was happening!
Throughout the next several years, I ended up having more tumors taken out, more "minor" flareups and more fights with Blake. We were running out of room in our 984 square foot house, money was always an issue because you can imagine the bills I was racking up with all those hospital stays and the medicine. We found ourselves arguing over the petty things....the things that shouldn't even matter. Something that most people didn't know (& I was too embarrassed to let anyone ever find out) was that when Blake & I would fight, it wasn't just arguing, it was shoving, pushing and full on hitting and it wasn't coming from me. For years, Blake physically abused me. He left bruises not only on my body but in my mind. He was even arrested one time for Assault/Family Violence. He was just like the tv cliche, " I love you baby & I will never hurt you again - I didn't mean it". He was my husband and I loved him...when I said I do, that's just what I did.
2006 - A year I will NEVER forget as long as I live. This was the year of the most changes. You see, we put our little house on Stone Street on the market. We were building a new home, from scratch...just the way we wanted it! We had no idea that our little house would be so popular...we had an offer in 5 days. We didn't know what to do...we were going to have no where to live. At this point, my "coworker" Beth Ann (she is the Chief Court Clerk for JP # 1) had a huge home that just her and her 2 daughters were living in. She had an upstairs room with a huge loft that became mine and Blake's residence for 4 months until our home was finished. It was perfect...it helped us save some extra money for some new things to go with our new home and it helped her, since she had just recently lost her husband, we were able to help out with the kiddos and give her a break, I helped by taking turns cooking and of course I helped with the housework! We had a blast! It was great times I will NEVER forget!! Then, in November, our new home was finally FINISHED!! It was beautiful! We had 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms worth of custom beauty. We had new furniture, new wall hangings, new everything. It was to be our home for at least the next 30 years! lol
2007 - We weren't living with her anymore but we weren't going to pass up the chance to spend New Years with her and the rest of our friends. We joined Beth Ann and everyone else for a night of fun, board games and giggling! What a great way to ring in the New Year. Blake & I were very distant...when the clock rand midnight, we hugged and kissed everyone else but each other. You could tell there was something just not right with us. Then, that same week, he came home one night late and sat me down on the couch, he told me that he wasn't happy with me anymore and that he needed to go "find himself". After I gained my composure because I was basically being dumped after all these years, I helped him pack a bag of clothes and he was off to his Dad's house. After many phone conversations, it became clear to me that we were not going to be able to get passed his new found dislike for me, so I went to meet with my attorney to figure out where to go from here. On Monday, January the 8th, I filed for divorce. The months to come were horrible. I asked him several times what had happened, what had I done, what made him want a divorce all of a sudden. After all, we had just moved into our beautiful home...this was the time we were supposed to be enjoying everything. His answer to me, "I just can't deal with you being sick anymore"! Really, what a blow to the heart! From that point on, "Holly the Super Bitch" came out. I had other suspicions as to the sudden change in Blake, but my friends all swore that there was nothing going on. So, after a while, I started to realize that I was the one that caused him pain, that I was the one that made him hurt. I would just have to move on with my life and hopefully he would be able to move on with his. On April 5th, we were scheduled for our final hearing to have our divorce finalized and get our decree. I got up, got all dressed up and made my way to the Courthouse. Of course since I had been working in the JP office for the previous 4 years, I knew the folks in the courtroom - even the bailiff. & you know me, I was just a talking away to all of them. The Courtroom was called to order, Judge Reue took the bench (the same bench mind you that we sit at when he have our hearings!!) and read the docket. He came to mine..."In the Matter of Holly Bramlett vs. Blake Bramlett", my heart sunk! Thankfully, my attorney and great friend Scott was there with me. He answered the Judge that we were present and ready...and boy were we ever. Judge Reue handled a few other smaller matters and then it was our turn. Blake & I had a no fault divorce and had previously handled all our assets, all we needed was to not be married anymore. Scott and I approached the bench, Judge Reue asked me to verify my name and asked Scott to proceed. After a series of questions, Judge Reue asked if Blake was in the Courtroom. Of course, he was. He said he wanted to make sure I didn't "take him for anything else"! What a douche! lol In those questions that Scott was asking, was a question regarding the possibility for reconciliation. When the question came out of Scott's mouth, I looked at Blake...he was crying. There were visible tears free flowing from his face. At that moment, I knew that I had come to terms with my new found single-ism! My answer to "Do you, Mrs. Bramlett, for see any possible chance of reconciliation with Mr. Bramlett" was "Ha,Ha,Ha NO!" It was a very quick answer...I honestly didn't mean to laugh, it just kinda happened. Judge Reue then granted our divorce and sent us on our way. I smiled the whole time. After all, I'm the one that filed! I refused to let Blake see me cry, I refused to let him see me hurting. I immediately ran to the County Attorney's office where my God-Mother Dot was working and let out a 2 minute cry session. After that, my tears were done and I was on my way home to get into my comfy clothes, lay on my couch and watch soap operas all day! I mean really, how else does a new divorcee spend her day off? lol Within a few days after our divorce was final, the real reason for my divorce to begin with came to light. Her name was Allison Wilson and she was a fill in secretary at HD Supply. That's where he met her...at work. That's who he had been staying with when he "packed his bags to head to his Dad's house", you know, the bag I helped him pack!! Back then, Myspace was all the rage and Blake was still my "friend" on there. We started seeing pictures from Rocket's games and from dinners with her family. At that moment, I could pin point when their "relationship" actually began. It was long before our house was even finished....long before there were even studs for walls! It was then that I realized how much he had hurt me and how much his lying had changed my life. Turns out my knight in shining armor turned out to be my loser in aluminum foil!!
All of this brings me to today. To December 29, 2010. To date, I am still working with Douglas, it is something that I enjoy very much and we have a great working relationship. I am still volunteering - now more then ever it seems, as I head up the Washington County Relay For Life as the Event Chairperson and it's my 3rd year to do so! & I've moved into a new chapter in my life...I've found a new love and he's a million times too good to me. Everything that has happened to me in my past has brought me to where I am today. It has made me who I am! Even though my trials and tribulations were anything short of easy, I wouldn't trade them for the world...everything has been a character builder. In writing this for all the world to see, I have given myself yet another thing to think about...I am VERY BLESSED to have the things that I have. God has given so much more then what he has allowed to be taken away and he has NEVER left my side during any of it. All in all, my last 10 years have taught me that everyday is precious, a gift that must be treated as such. I spend as much time now as I can sharing my life with those who matter, as opposed to those who don't. I try not to sweat the smaller things anymore because in the grand scheme of things, they don't really matter. I still struggle with what has since been diagnosed as Rheumatoid Arthritis and I got another gift, I also have Fibromyalgia. It makes life hard, but not impossible.
It is also important for me to note that I am not angry with Blake any longer. In fact, I am the complete opposite. He is now happily married (he was married one year & 5 days after our divorce was finalized) and from what I've been told, he now has a little girl that was born in May or June. It is true what they say, some things just aren't meant to be, and our marriage was one of them. Everyone deserves true happiness and I hope that he has found it. After all, if we wouldn't have gone our separate ways, Terrence would not be a part of my life. I thank God for putting the 2 of us in the right place at the right time.
Who knows what the next chapter will bring...I can only hope it's filled with happiness and love. I guess God really does know what he's doing and I am really looking forward to what he has in store for me!!