This past year was a doozy, that is for sure. The previous year, 2008, was such a great and horrible year for my family that 2009 could only be better. 2008 saw the death of my husband and my children's father. I was left a 30 year old widow with a teenager, a preschooler and a toddler. I was in a strange state with few friends, 9 hours away from my family, 7 hours away from my in-laws, and no where near any other kind of support system. I was left. I was left in the middle of nowhere. I lived in the middle of nowhere alone with my children for 7 months. ALONE. I continued with my job. A job that had me commuting a total of 2 and a half hours a day. A job that I spent 9 hours at a day. I lost my husband and barely saw my children and I lost me.
I decided to keep my job and stay in a foreign place to make sure that "I" could do it. That I could support my family while working a demanding job with crazy hours and a crazy commute all while losing THE most important person to all of my family. I did it so that I had the knowledge for myself that if everyone else in the world that could help me was gone, that I could do this on my own. And I did, I kept it all together and made life for my children as "normal" as possible. And they are so well rounded and well adjusted that darn it, I deserve a pat on the back.
In those 7 months I visited the top three places I thought I "may" want to live, to relocate my family. I took so long in choosing because I wanted it to be right, I wanted it to be what I wanted and what Shane would have wanted for the kids. I chose St. Louis because he loved it and I loved it and I knew the kids would have opportunities here that they wouldn't in the other 2 places. I knew the kids would also have tons of "dads" here in Shane's friends, and so far that has proven more than true. The men here are surely some of the most stand up men I have ever encountered in my life and for them I am so very thankful!!
So as a recap, for me more than anyone else, here are the things I accomplished in 2009:
- My family can have a great holiday season in the worst of circumstances.
- I purchased a home for the first time, in another state.
- I can pack up a household and move it 2 states away on my own.
- I purchased a car on my own, for the first time.
- I can successfully raise 3 boys on my own.
- I can keep a household running on my own.
- I can kill a mouse, spider and other creepy things on my own.
- I can grill dinner outside on my own.
- I learned how to invest money.
- I can still live in different states than my parents and in-laws (albeit closer) and still be ok.
- I value life in a way I never have before.
- I tell everyone that is important to me, just how important they are, because they may be gone tomorrow.
- I thank God everyday for giving me a chance to meet, get to know, marry and have children with someone as special as my husband.
- I also thank God for letting me know what it is like on the other side of the hurt.
- I thank God for my husband for making sure we were taken care of "just in case."
- I met with countless numbers of lawyers and made sure my kids were taken care of "just in case."
- I am so thankful for my family and friends for understanding and helping me through one of the hardest things I will ever go through, and fully expect to face more tough times throughout my life and will need them again.
I hope that I will not forget the lessons I learned and the things I accomplished in 2009 for no other reason than to know that I can rise above the hardships and the pain. To know that life is life and crappy things happen, things that we have NO control over. To know that hopefully I can help someone else, pay it forward, because my debt is so huge. And more than anything else that I can still smile and laugh and have a great fulfilling life.
I hope 2010 brings you health and happiness and everything else you wish for. Always smile at everyone you see because you do not know what they are going through and that smile might just be what brightens their day. Talk to the haggard looking mom in line behind you at the grocery, maybe they haven't talked to another adult all day and need to just say hello. People are much nicer and helpful than we give them credit for and are more than willing to help if just asked. Here comes another great decade, I can't wait to see what it holds for us all. I think it is going to be great!!!!