It has been six months since Heidi’s passing, a little more than one year since I went on leave from work to care for her, and two years from when we learned Heidi’s breast cancer had metastasized. There’s a part of me that feels like all those events were so long ago, and another part of me that still feels like this all happened just yesterday and I am still in the same bog I have been in for the last two years.
Overall, I am managing. There are still so many things in my life that are not settled and only so much mental and emotional energy that I have in a day. And there are those little moments, like a hearing a song Heidi loved or finding an item of hers in the house, that will leave me in a heap of tears, but I am sure those moments are to be expected. I have also noticed the loneliness factor is much more present. Not just in those moments at home, but even in social settings with friends and family.
Spiritually I still feel pretty dry, reading anything more than an article, a short psalm, or listening to a song is a challenge. But I do have my constant “go-to’s” for comfort. Like psalm 42:
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation[ and my God.
These days I am just looking for small victories. Like being able to get up and get through my day of work and caring for the girls–which I have learned to be content with. All that being said, there are still those times when I have to remind myself to not bite off more than I can chew.
The girls are managing okay as well. There are those moments for them when missing Heidi is more evident and more emotional than usual. Bedtime is often a challenge; it’s the time when all the fears, anxiety, and loneliness come up as the busy-ness of the day winds down. There are a fair number of nights when at least one of the girls is up for some reason or another. It’s quite exhausting, but I just pray that it is just a season that will eventually pass. Even with all the challenges this year, they all finished school well and have had plenty of fun memory-making experiences this summer.
June was a particularly rough month as some of the new realities started to set in. Work wasn’t as busy as when I first returned from my leave, all the urgent tasks had been resolved. The girls also finished their school year and started their summer schedule. And the most painful part, all the family birthdays were ramping up. Starting with our youngest daughter’s birthday we have seven family birthdays in a little over a month, including Heidi’s. Not only did all those celebrations have a tinge of sadness, but I was now expected to plan, or help plan, several of those celebrations. Thankfully both my mother and mother-in-law have helped me out immensely so our girls didn’t feel forgotten or slighted when it came to their birthday celebrations.
There have been some sweet memories made these past six months as well. Back in May we were generously given Disneyland passes from one of Heidi’s friends which was great for memory-making and quality family time. And as our summer moved into July we were blessed with the opportunity to do some traveling. First to visit my extended family, including my 97-year-old grandma, in the Reno and Virginia City area of Nevada. The kids had lots of undivided time with their cousins, camping and riding all kinds of fun vehicles. And we’ve concluded this summer by visiting Heidi’s family in Colorado, soaking up all the spectacular natural wonders of the Rockies and the Colorado Plateau.
Now that our summer travel is over it’s time to come back to the reality of everyday life: work and school, as we start a new school year. And I’m looking to settle in and hopefully answer a lot of the big question marks in my life at the moment, like:
For those of you who may be new to the Weston saga over the last year, I learned that the company I work for, Rose Publishing, was in the process of being sold as I was returning from work after Heidi’s passing. The buyer and my new employer, Hendrickson Publishing, gave me an offer to relocate to Massachusetts, or remain in Southern California as an independent contractor on a six-month contract as they decide what to do with Rose. I chose the latter which ended up being a blessing in disguise as I was able to work from home and have enough flexibility to work around the kids’ schedules, settle a lot of the business end of Heidi’s passing, and just take a breath as I process the last three years.
My new employer, Hendrickson Publishers, has been very understanding and flexible on my work needs which has been great. Now as we move into the new school year and the transition from Rose to Hendrickson starts to wind down and my contract nears it’s end a lot of questions will need to be answered on how work will look for me in the future.
Many of you may not know this but for the past six years we had been renting Heidi’s grandfather’s house. It started out as a means for us to recover financially after we did a short sale on our condo due to the recession and my 10 months of unemployment back in 2009-10. And it would become an added blessing once Heidi was diagnosed with breast cancer when the medical bills and other new expenses started to add up, it also afforded me the time I took off work to care for her.
As Heidi’s grandfather’s health was getting weaker the family had expressed their intention to sell the house once he passed, so we knew there was always the chance that we would need to move in the near future. We had hoped to have a fair amount of time after Heidi’s passing to square away my employment uncertainty, childcare needs and all the other life adjustments involved before we would need to find new housing. It didn’t work out that way. Heidi’s grandfather passed away May 6th and after talking it through with the family, it was agreed that we would need to move out by November 1 as they prepare to sell the house.
It’s one more major life-change that I didn’t really need right now. And the current real estate market in Southern California makes it a financial challenge. But considering all the provisions God has blessed us with over the past four years through, family, friends, and total strangers, I am sure we’ll be able to solve our housing issues.
One of my biggest challenges these days is being the sole parent to my three little girls. Our little family has been so blessed by all the family and friends who have helped by caring for the girls over the past four years, and I don’t know how we could have done it without that help. However, all that free help can only go so far. My prayer is once I am able to find answers for my employment and housing questions I will be able to find a more permanent childcare solution that will ease the burden for me and all the family and friends that are currently helping care for my little girls.
Wrapping it Up
There are times I wish I could just wrap up all these questions in my life as easy as it is to finish something like a blog post. I wish someone would just come in and tell me what I need to do and answer all those questions I need answered. But ultimately, I know answering these questions quickly isn’t necessarily the best solution. I am trying my hardest to slow down and just be at peace in the midst of all these questions. It would be nice to at least cross off one (or two) of these.
Again, I cannot express enough thanks for all of those who have helped, fed, loved on us, and prayed for us in this time of need. I don’t know how we could have made it through these past six months without all of you. Thank you.