The Everyday Life Never Quit Story

First and foremost, thank you for the outstanding podcast. I have listened to every single episode and can’t wait for the next one. As soon as I listen to your newly released episode, I go over and listen to Drinkin Bros, Launch Code, the Sheepdog Project, or the Boneyard (it’s a Mississippi State Athletics Podcast).
I ain’t real sure how much of a story this is, but every time I listen ta y’alls show, I think about moments in my life where I could have called it a day. So, I guess I should try and share my biggest never quit story. I’m not an amputee and I’ve never had a life-threatening disease. But what I did, was day to day difficult at best. This might take a minute, so here we go.
I am a SSG in the Alabama Army National Guard and I deployed to Iraq in 2007. We had our share of playtime with the bad guys and as a lead truck during convoy escorts, I was out front to either find the IED’s or take a lick for everybody else. My crew took two direct hits but found over 20 of them before they could find us. We didn’t lose a single guy in our Troop either. On top of having to worry if I had missed something on the road that one of my guys might hit, I was also having some major marital at home. I knew coming home would be rough and I tried to block from my mind what I might find out when I did get home.
May 2008, we returned home, and my worst fears came to fruition. My soon to be ex-wife had developed quite the cocaine habit and our four kids had suffered. I found traces of that shit in my house. I called my PLT daddy (he’s a State Trooper) and asked if he could send a drug dog to my house to make sure I had found it all. I hadn’t. The dog found 7 more vials of this garbage. I knew right then that I had to get my kids and I away from her. Without her knowledge, I started the process of filing for divorce. Fast forward to the day before Father’s Day of ’08, I was outside with my Dad (we lived on the same property with him and my Step-mom) building a deck on his house when my oldest son came running out crying. He said that he had to hit his mother because she was hitting his little brother. My oldest at the time was 9. I sent him inside with my Dad and collected the rest of my kids and went to my Dad’s as well. She freaked out and tried to commit suicide later that same day. I decided then to move in with my dad and my four kids. Needless to say, I gained full custody and she was unable to contact them until she had completed certain steps that we had agreed on in the divorce.
Now here I am as a single Dad with four kids. Ages, 9, 2, and twins that were 18 months. I had been having some sleep issues and all the stuff that goes along with coming from a combat tour. I decided had to shut that shit off and focus on providing for my kids. I had to undo what had been done to them while I was gone. I prayed a lot. I got back in to church. I focused all my time on them and working. I did that for almost a year. I was working as a granite counter top installer. That is a very tough job, but it put food on the table. There were a lot of nights that I didn’t think I could get out of my truck, much less cook supper, help with homework, give baths, do laundry, make lunches, and finally get a shower and hit the bed. But I was able to, because so many thought I couldn’t. Besides, when you pull up to the daycare and they come running up, ti would give me the extra energy I needed to push through the night. When I prayed, I prayed for the good Lord to make their life a little easier. To take away their suffering. To help provide them a loving home. I didn’t pray to make things easier for me, cause I can take that shit. That’s what a man does. He takes the crap the world throws at him and shields his family from it. He keeps the wolf away from the door. Little did I know, he would answer those prayers.
November 6, 2008, I was on Myspace of all places and I was trying to keep up with my soldiers. I knew a few of them had a tough time upon our return. I was new to social media and a name kept popping up in my mind. Lynda. Lynda was my high school sweetheart and I let her get away. She left me while I was in basic in 1997. I was an outlaw and she had every right to think I wouldn’t change. I knew I had lost the love of my life, but I moved on and married the kids mother a few years later. After I had put the kids to bed, made their lunches and started a load of laundry, I logged on. I found some of the guys and sent them a few messages, just checking on them. I started finding friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. Lynda’s name kept popping up. I typed her name in and damnit, I found her. I sent her a message and my phone number. She called me around nine that night and we talked until about four in the morning. We had not talked in almost fifteen years. We both quickly realized that the old flame was still burning. I had kids though. Four of them. She didn’t blink an eye. She was unable to have kids with her previous husband and was living in Auburn, AL attending school. She jumped in with both feet and started giving my kids the mother they deserved. We married in February of 2019 and have been together ever since. The kids eventually, on their own, decided to start calling her mom. She has been the best thing that has ever happened in my life. If I had quit or walked away or hadn’t just sucked it the fuck up, my kids and I wouldn’t be where we are today.
Like I said, my Never Quit story isn’t a real inspirational story. I didn’t get burned alive, lose a limb, lose a business, or fight through some crazy debilitating disease. I fought through regular old everyday life. And believe Mr. Rutherford, Mr. Luttrell, and Mr. Wizard, “Life was hammering the snot out me.”