To those who read about my f-Bomb,
My phone started ringing. Text messages from friends across the country began to pile in. Then, I saw for myself. My f-bomb became a national story. While you may have read in the paper or on the internet about my gaff on air, what reporters didn’t write is that the f-Bomb wasn’t just a headline in the news, it was a breaking story in my life.
Before and after the f-Bomb feel like two very separate lives – not just a different chapter but a new book with a unique cover.
I would entitle the first novel, “Thanks for the journey.”
When I said that inappropriate word across the airwaves, I was supposed to be giving the local weather forecast for NBC in New York. For 24 years, I was the local weatherman. But at that moment, I got lost in conversation about my late wife, Nancy. I was talking about how when she died a part of me had to go with her.
I told my co-worker, “It’s a f*cking weird thing.”
That’s the part you probably heard. That’s what the media wrote about online and in the paper.
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Nancy and I met back in first grade. The love bug hit me at our eighth-grade graduation celebration, where we started to dance and never stopped. We got married, had two kids and lived an amazing life together.
My wife was a strong and liberated woman, but still very rooted in family. While she gave up her career as a CPA to raise our children, which she thoroughly enjoyed, her brilliance was still quite apparent. I took three years of calculus in college, but I probably forgot all of it once I got a diploma in my hand. Not Nancy. When our son needed help in calculus, she remembered it all.
Her mission was always to guide our children to be their best in life. We had honest conversations at the dinner table because Nancy was a straight shooter. Your head would snap because she would be so blunt. While shocking to some, it kept the channels of communication open with our kids and with ourselves. Nancy was the center of our family.
In 2012, Nancy was diagnosed with Myelofibrosis, a blood cancer. Cancer is very unforgiving. It was not only painful for me to watch the physical toll it took, but things like the loss of her hair seemed to rob her of her dignity as well. At work, I would do research, trying to find out if anywhere else in the world discovered an alternative method to treating her illness.
But I couldn’t find a cure. I couldn’t make her better.
On her last day in the hospital I noticed her body movement was strange. Her eyes didn’t move. She didn’t blink. When I spoke to her, there was no indication that she could hear me. Then, just like a Hollywood movie, I noticed the heart monitor. The beats were becoming more and more distant. She started turning blue. I laid down next to her, told her it was OK and that she should go in peace. I heard her last breath, as I held her in my arms.
Nearly three years later the f-Bomb hit. Between Nancy’s passing and the f-bomb, there were not only times of sadness, but some real ugly depression. At first, I tried to be dad and mom for my children, but that wasn’t possible. Also, there was a large sense of failure that I didn’t fix her. I couldn’t fix her.
I can remember finally starting to laugh, but even though I was physically laughing I was still dead on the inside.
When the f-Bomb hit I was removing pictures from my work computer. They were from the last trip we had as a family where Nancy was doing well. Three weeks after that curse word hit the air and then subsequently the entire internet, my bosses told me they weren’t re-signing my contract after 24 years at NBC. My bosses were ending my employment, but insisted their decision was unrelated to my slip-up. Nonetheless, the f-Bomb impact was still there.
The f-bomb was the true start of the second book in my life. While it is still being written, I would title this story, “The Sun Will Rise Again.”
My wife will be with me forever. The time I spent with her and the love we shared is ingrained in me. It’s a part of me. However, I continued to get out and socialize, which eventually led to me experiencing real joy again. I finally realized that I have to let go of the day-to-day emotional connection that I shared with Nancy. This is embarrassing to admit, but I never lived alone until my wife passed away and I didn’t know how to fill out a check until I was about 50 years old. I had to put on my big boy pants, paying bills and learning about our finances.
As I was forced to become more independent, I realized that, through the years, I may have lost a sense of self. My identity was tied to being a husband and a father but when I step out of those roles, there is still me. There is this core of who I am that I had lost touch with through the years.
My approach to life right now is much less conservative than in years past. When I am confronted with a challenge or asked to try a new task, I dive right in as opposed to shy away.
I started to travel, which led me to a new lady in my life. We’ve been to Singapore and South Africa, trying different foods and meeting people from all over the world. Traveling has opened my eyes to humanity, helping me realize that all of us are a lot more similar than we think. People create differences by drawing lines, such as religion and race.
All my new experiences are not only enlightening me about the world but they are helping me to learn more about who I am and what makes me happy.
Looking back, I wouldn’t do anything differently in my life, whether it be my relationships or my career. On the surface, I have been through some terrible and hurtful periods recently, but on a deeper level, I am evolving and I am growing.
These last few years taught me if you love someone, don’t bother complaining about little things.
I promise you, no one ever said to a person they loved on their deathbed, “Gee, I wish I yelled at you and busted your chops even more.”
Also, I have come to understand that life is truly a gift and I am going to enjoy it for as long as I have it. Right now, I consider myself in the bonus round. If it all ended tomorrow, I had an amazing life.
But to realize all of this – it took the f-bomb.
All of our experiences, good, bad and devastating, make us who we are today. And while in the news, my f-bomb was the moment I said a foul word, in my life my f-Bomb was the point where I freed myself to move forward.
With clear skies and sunshine ahead,