The last time I posted anything was Thanksgiving. Boy had I known what was going to come, the holiday may have happened a lot differently in my house.
I was so excited going through the holidays, spending time with family and just enjoying life, despite how terribly cold it had been. I was excited to celebrate the New Year and couldn't wait to see what life had in store for my family and I.
That excitement ended quickly with a phone call on January 6, 2014. One I never in a million years thought that I would get. It was my brothers girlfriend calling to tell me my brother had been in an accident.
Small back story on my brother, he was an over the road truck driver. We were very close. I considered him my best friend. I called him over everything, good and bad. We joked around, played pranks on one another and to be honest, he was a father figure to me. My Dad hadn't been around in many years and my brother was a great father figure to have in my life.
After the phone call I received, we thought maybe we could travel to Maryland where he was so that we could meet him at the hospital once they got him there. I called my Mom to use her car since it was better in the snow and cold than mine was. It was like 4 degrees here with a windchill below zero. Bitter is the best way I can describe it. Mom came over to wait to hear from my brothers friends on exactly where in Maryland he was and what hospital he would be taken to. As I was searching for directions we heard screaming from next door and we knew exactly what we were going to be told. My heart sank and I went running full force to my brothers girlfriend. I will never be able to not hear the conversations of that night. I relive them often and hear them often. I'd be lying if I said they didn't bring tears to my eyes every time I go through this.
I never imagined having to tell my Mother that her son was dead. I never in my life thought that I would lose a sibling in my 30's. Like I said, I can still hear the tears, the screaming and feel the heart wrenching pain of losing my brother.
Following having to tell my Mother, I had to inform family members. That call at 1:00 am is not something you ever think would have to be done. I did it all without thought. I made them, cried with whoever was on the other line, then moved onto the next call. One would think I was cold hearted. It may seem that way, feels that way as I type it all out. Honestly, I was just trying to get through it all so I could have my moment alone soon. I was sitting at my kitchen table, worried about my Mom and Sister. A Mother should never have to endure the pain of losing a child. I can't even imagine how terrible that feeling is. I hope and I pray that I never have to feel it. Then fearing for my sister, as she was sitting in Michigan in a truck. Waiting for the weather to clear some so she could get back to work. See, driving runs in the family. My sister was an over the road truck driver as well. I worried, heck I still worry, about how we will all make it without that wonderful man in our lives. Then add to the worry that I had two young children yet to tell. How does one simply tell a 7, going on 8 in 6 days, and a 5 year old that they just lost their Uncle overnight? The worry in my heart didn't stop there. My brother had a 23 year old and a 6 year old. How were they going to handle this loss? How would they manage without a Father. I mean, I know I handled well without mine around, but I had mine growing up. His 6 year old wouldn't. That seemed so terribly wrong to me. Seemed unfair to be honest.
After a few hours, the police showed up to give us information to call the Maryland State Police Department. I have to say, they were the nicest men I've ever dealt with. The first trooper I talked to prayed with me for a moment before he gave me details of what had happened. I don't think that man knows what an impact that made on me that night. I still have the paper I wrote every bit of information he gave me. Its in no important order, in fact, I wrote in circles but, I knew what it was all about.
The next week is a bit of a blur after losing my brother. I made a lot of phone calls and answered a lot of phone calls. I cried a lot too. I think my kids assumed I was lying to them, or they were completely in shock because they seemed to blow me off as tears streamed down my face. Luckily, I didn't have to tell them this then send them off to school. They were off because of how cold it was.
I immediately called our Pastor and asked if he and his wife could just come sit with us. The shock hadn't fully hit. We sat and had lunch before we had to leave for an appointment. They were wonderful help and right there when I needed them. I couldn't as for better friends.
We struggled with how to handle the week. Waiting for my sister to make it back home, struggled with how we were going to be able to say, "See ya later!" (I refuse to say Goodbye, I will see them someday.) I struggled with how my kids were going to handle everything. I worried about all the friends and family that were dealing with this loss of a great man. There wasn't anyone that he was in contact with that he didn't make a wonderful impact on. He was a very loved man.
As we went on through the week, luckily some wonderful friends started worrying that my poor oldest would be saying goodbye to his uncle at the Celebration of his Uncles life, on his 8th birthday. I had over looked it. I felt like the world's worst mother. I had overlooked the date and didn't realize we would be doing this on his birthday. I knew it was coming don't get me wrong. We had worked at trying to keep their lives as normal as we could.
So a cake was ordered, and birthday gifts were bought. We weren't going to let that kid live with the fact that his Uncle died so close to his birthday that he felt forgotten. There were around 100 people there to Celebrate my brothers life. All 100 people sang Happy Birthday to my son. He now tells us, "That was the best birthday EVER! So many people sang to me Mom!" So, he won't let his Uncles death overshadow his birthday.
To say that the past 7 months were hard is an understatement. Life has been anything but simple. One simply never prepares for the loss of a sibling. You just never think about it. You mentally prepare for the loss of your parents, even though it doesn't make it easier, you still try. I never thought I would lose my brother. It has been the hardest moment in my life to deal with. I've lost family members, but never one that I was so close to. My kids never experienced death before this. Their first dealing with it wasn't the easiest that's for sure. It effected my oldest in school. He emotionally was a wreck the entire rest of the school year. Broke down in tears many times simply because he missed Uncle Ray. He told me many times that he knows he will see him in heaven, but that wasn't enough. He wanted to hug him. Trying to be there for your child in pain, when you feel the same pain is by far one of the most difficult things. I cried many nights with him. It was the best thing I could think to do for him. Let him know that it's ok to hurt. It's ok to let that emotion come out.
As the year went on, we tried learning to live without him around. It hasn't been easy at all. We've made it so far though.
I've dove into my oldest son's appointments and pushed harder to make sure he received the help he needed. He was finally diagnosed as Autistic. Which I have suspected for many years. Now to just keep the ball rolling without hitting anymore walls would be nice.
We did have a few wonderful things happen as well this year. I can't deny, it hasn't been horrid all year.
My other half was saved! He accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and personal Savior. I was saved in September of 2013. I was so excited for him! Its the most amazing feeling when it happens to you!
We then finally got married on July 12. After almost 10 years of being together, and two kids later! It was the most wonderful day! We celebrated with close friends and family with us. It was a beautiful ceremony and a low key, simple reception outside. I couldn't of asked for a more perfect day! I know he was there with me, I could feel him all day. He would of been so excited all day long!
Now if I could make it through my youngest first day of Kindergarten, all would be well in the world! I can't believe my baby will be starting Kindergarten!
So, I apologize for not being around, but life has gotten in the way! Some ways good, others, not so well.