Samantha's post made me think, think very hard, about my life, and everything I've been through.
I thought, maybe if I shared some of the adversity I've been through, not as a means of diminishing her's (that would be thoroughly impossible), but as a means of showing that maybe, just maybe, there might be a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel.
All of us go through difficult periods, and oftentimes, during those periods, our problems seem insurmountable. The whole "forest for the trees" effect comes into play.
But I have faith, I believe, I KNOW... not a religious faith, but something deep down inside me that tells me that no matter how bleak the outlook may seem, if you look in the right place, if you would only turn away from your pain for a second and seek out the helping hand that is surely stretched out to you, you WILL find aide.
20 years ago, shortly after finishing my bachelor's degree, I was diagnosed with cancer. I was in my late 20's. And my world came to a sudden end.
The day the doctor told me, I was due to sing in a performance of Boris Godounov that evening. I walked, in a daze, to the record store, maxed out my credit card on CDs, bought myself a bowtie, then went home and prepared for that evening's concert. I had two close friends next to me during the performance, one on each side, holding me up by the elbows. Thankfully, since I would not have been able to remain standing for the entire 3 hour performance.
I sank into a deep pit of despair, and waited. For the end to come.
I was in treatment for many years, on and off, with remissions followed by flare-ups. Then, one day, out of the blue, that helping hand came to me.
Professor Alan Belkin's hand was that hand. He encouraged me to register for my master's degree. After 4 years, I had my diploma, and a new lease on life. Or at least, a new outlook on life.
I'm still in treatment, and still suffer flare-ups and remissions, back and forth like a cruel seesaw, but my outlook on life has changed.
Meanwhile, I met my spouse - another cancer survivor, and we've been happily married for 8 years now. So, life can look bleak, and yes, it can get really bad at times. At least, I know that mine isn't perfect. But I have a reason to live.
And Gary Garritan's library has allowed me another glimmer of hope: it let me hear some of my music I never thought I would never get performed. And the demos I've created with GPO have advanced my career. I have commissions. I am the administrator of a music festival. I started teaching and coaching again. And most of all, I am surrounded by friends and family who love me, and whom I love deeply.
I would like to take a moment to simply send out a thank-you and an "I love you" to a few who are here on this forum:
Ron Brown, thank-you, hugs, and eternal gratitude for sharing your music with me. You are a dear friend and a great musician.
Nikolas Sideris, I know we don't speak often enough, but I hold you in such high regard that I don't believe words could express how I feel.
Samantha, I love you and cherish every moment I've spent with you, whether it was in Azeroth or speaking about music.
Adversity, it's just a word.
It can be beaten.