Thursday, July 6, 2017

July 5th again...

There seems to be something about July 5th that sends my life in a new direction.

It was that day six years ago that Tony first went to a doctor about his symptoms, two days before Louise was born. That appointment was the first of many, and my life was changed forever.

I have been reflecting a lot about where I am these days. It's been two and a half years since Tony died. Sometimes, it feels a life time ago... but just a few weeks ago, the thought that he was gone hit me so hard while driving that I nearly had to pull over. So, I'm doing better but I will still spend the rest of my life adjusting. The enormity of that has become apparent.

The girls continue to be amazing, and they are growing so fast. We are lucky enough to have so much love in our lives, and they show the benefits of that. They are friendly and outgoing, and are hopefully learning to appreciate all that they have. That doesn't erase all that they have lost, though. Losing Jake is another hard blow. Every parent wishes they could protect their children from pain and heartache, and I'm no different. Obviously, I can't change the circumstances of their loss, but hopefully I can help them live with it.

So even though we've started to emerge into the light, each new development rocks me. I feel unsteady on my own, and second guess myself constantly. I have learned that I need to allow myself a lot of time to make decisions, it seems to help and hopefully I eventually arrive at the right choice. But I suppose this is the struggle of life; no matter what your situation, things are often not easy. That's okay... struggle and stress is more than a fair trade for all the gifts of life.

This July 5th, my life changing event was signing a contract to return to teaching at Lylburn Downing Middle School. I am nervous about whether I will have the energy to teach and be a single mom, but I'll certainly give it my best shot. I've already tried to come to terms with the fact that I'll have to let a lot of things go... I just won't be able to do it all. Sometimes life hands you things before you are really ready... but it would be boring any other way!

Monday, July 3, 2017


I said a few months ago that I was ready for new, good stuff to happen, but I didn't anticipate the flip side of that. New things in your life often means saying goodbye to old parts of your life... and sometimes that is really awful. (more on this to come)

Last weekend, we had to say goodbye to Jake, Tony's loyal service dog. He was diagnosed with kidney failure a few months ago, and he had been hanging in there. He had special food, and medicine, and I was even giving him IV fluids for awhile. He had gotten very skinny and had lost a lot of his energy and pep. He couldn't jump in the back of the car or drag me along on a walk, but he still greeted me with a waggy tail. At the end of last week, he couldn't really keep any food down, and that was enough for me.

I can't say enough about what Jake meant to us and how much he helped Tony. He made it possible for Tony to work extra months when his arms were getting very weak, and he helped us skip the lines at Disney World. He threw away dirty diapers, opened doors, and even brought my lunch to me one day at school. More than anything, he was Tony's buddy and was perfect at his job. We miss him so much. He was a wonderful dog, but his job was done.

I could go on and on, but it'll only bring even more tears. Please, pet your own pets tonight and tell them you love them... maybe give them an extra treat. And please check out St. Francis Service Dogs who trained Jake and then taught Tony how to keep up with him. They provide dogs to veterans, and children and adults with disabilities and they are incredible.

Here's a few pics... now I've got something in my eye again.

Teeny Jake early in his 2 years of work to be a service dog
with baby Louise right after he partnered with Tony

Unofficial mascot of VMI Men's Soccer
Sharing the couch with his favorite humans
goofball in the snow

last pic with his adopted sister, Gemma