May 23, 2011

Made It Moment: Jeff Dawson

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 7:07 am

Love's True Second Chance

One of the best things about being a writer is the community we all get a chance to be a part of. I met Jeff Dawson through one such community, and his story of loss and fulfillment moved me greatly. Jeff’s life has had many ups and downs, as his Moment reveals. Through them all he came to one ultimate definition of success.

Jeff Dawson

Where does one begin deciding if they have made it? Is it the success we share? Is it the path we have traveled or is it something more important and personal? I will opt for the third.

I spent most of my adult life in the construction industry. Road building to be precise. After flipping burgers at Wendy’s for six months I realized I needed a career much more satisfying. I needed to know that I just wasn’t collecting a pay check but would have something to show for the long days’ toils. Building road was the answer. I would be able to go back years later and see what I had been a part of. A sense of accomplishment and pride I would be able to share with my children.

The time when I did road construction had more ups and down’s than one can imagine. Divorce, bankruptcies, children moving away, personal tragedy and loss. A partner in 1990, father in 2005 and my fiance in 2009. Yet despite it all I stayed with the business.

In February of 2010, I was released by my employer one week before I was to go in for major back surgery. I didn’t fit in the apparent four to five year plan.

It was during the recovery period that I really started examining my life and how it had progressed. Not a very rosy or pretty picture. Did I really want to continue on this current path or was there something I hadn’t yet tapped into? The question was answered one day as I leafed through the Dallas Morning News. I came upon an article about a company that promotes professional speakers. “Hey, I can do this. But what will I write about? Who would enjoy or possibly benefit from all of these difficult experiences?”

I looked back at everything that had transpired over the past twenty-five years and started writing. The wounds from the past rose up. Those that had not been properly confronted and dealt with resurfaced in a flash. Putting the experiences down helped me understand the road I had traveled and who had really been driving the bus. I found out why every major event had happened. Whether it was a business failure, divorce or loss of loved ones, I realized it was necessary to travel this path to be where I was needed the most when it truly counted. Who could ask for a better life’s plan.

The made it moment? It is knowing that I have been able to help someone else heal from the pain of losing loved ones or dealing with the tribulations everyone faces each day. To me, that is the definition of success.

I spent the last twenty-five years in the road construction industry. I have been married and then divorced with three grown children. I started writing years ago but never took it seriously until I had back surgery in 2010.

Loves True Second Chance is about the woman I had loved for over thirty years. I wanted to let people know that Love is worth a second chance even if there is a possibility of a tragic end. We packed a lifetime of love in seven short months.


  1. Below is a short out take from the book describing our final moments together.

    July 20th, 2009 7:00am I held her hand and kissed her face with the arrival of a sunny beautiful morning, hoping for a miracle. The shift change for nurses and doctors was in full swing. Staff checking in, charts being reviewed, doctors and nurses exchanging information; vital signs being verified. Debbie’s breathing is very labored as it had been for the last twenty four hours. I never knew if each breath would be her last. The cancer was running its course through her beautiful body at a terrible pace. An aide came in to change the sheets and clean her up. She asked if I would like her to wash Debbie’s hair. I pondered the thought for a minute looking at the love of my live and replied in a hushed, choked tone, “She would like that. How long will it take you to change her bed and wash her hair?” She said about fifteen minutes. I stepped out of the room and called her friend Cathey to get an estimated time of arrival. She assured me she would be at the hospital within thirty minutes.
    Debbie was in good hands with the aide. I decided to get a little air, purchase a coke and have a cigarette. I went to the store with one thought running through my mind, Is there anything else I can do for her? Had I done everything I could for the “love of my life”? Would God sit by her side and let her live out her life on earth or whisper in her ear, take her hand, and guide her to heaven? I had no control over what was happening to her.

    Comment by Jeff Dawson — May 23, 2011 @ 7:59 am

  2. Jeff, I knew your story from The Spinning Wheel, but reading it again touched my heart. Most of us have loved and lost in one way or another. Healing begins when you realize you’re not alone, and your story does that.



    Comment by Nancy Morse — May 23, 2011 @ 8:48 am

  3. You have made a difference, Jeff. For that, I commend you.

    Comment by Kristie Leigh Maguire — May 23, 2011 @ 9:41 am

  4. Jeff, I can really identify in many ways. Hurricane Isabel took everything from me. Every hope, every dream, every chance of ever owning a house or getting a good job. But BECAUSE that hurricane ruined me, circumstances conspired to give me a daughter, my second child, who has completed our family.

    I can also relate to loss: my mother was abusive to me, but we had just patched our lived together in the 2 years before she died. I became her caretaker. When she was hospitalized I stayed with her 24/7 till at last my Evil Stepdad told me to get some dinner. I hadn’t eaten all day. She chose to die while I was out of the room. I think she was hanging in there, unconscious though she was, because she didn’t want me to see her go.

    Congratulations for turning the tragedy into a Made It Moment. That is, I hope, what life is all about.

    Comment by Savvy — May 23, 2011 @ 10:09 am

  5. What a beautiful love story. Donna

    Comment by My Life. One Story at a Time. — May 23, 2011 @ 10:26 am

  6. Ladies, thank you for the kind thoughts and comments. Savvy, I am convinced that is why we take this journey called life. I would change nothing that has happened. Knowing I was placed where I would needed the most outweighed all of the loss and tragedy.

    Comment by Jeff Dawson — May 23, 2011 @ 11:46 am

  7. Thanks to everyone for your comments, and Jeff, for sharing more of your poignant, meaningful story–and life.

    Comment by jenny — May 23, 2011 @ 10:09 pm

  8. Jenny, thanks so much for the opportunity this week. See you at the Spinning Wheel.

    Comment by Jeff Dawson — May 24, 2011 @ 10:36 am

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