Not only is it difficult to write, it’s going to be difficult to read.
I feel like I need to preface this with a disclosure, that I am okay, my kids are okay. We have a lot of support, and I was built for chaos.
Well, that last part is what I keep telling myself.
I’m writing this in November of 2022.
Like so many other families, we’ve had a crazy last two years. At some point we started isolating ourselves in some unhealthy ways. I mean, we live in a county in California that was one of the first to go into lock-down in 2020 and one of the last to re-open. We were already a homeschool family, I have been running my own business for years, and my husband’s job was considered “essential” so many aspects of our life didn’t change. A lot of things did change.
We lost my mother-in-law in May of 2020.
Maybe I was too busy “being strong” but there are still times I realize I have never truly dealt with my own grief. You see, my mother-in-law was one of my best friends. She would always want to hear about my business adventures. Even when I knew she didn’t understand what I was talking about, she listened as if it was the most important thing she would hear that day. She adored her granddaughters and would brag about the smallest accomplishments. She loved her family fiercely, even though she had a hard time expressing it. I was so blessed to have her in my life for over 25 years.
We went on, doing what we needed to do, paying the bills, working hard, I wasn’t paying attention to things that I should have been. My husband and I were dealing with the pandemic and lock-downs in different ways. We tried to be patient with each other, it was a strange time. We both felt trapped in our own little bubble, myself feeling trapped at home, him feeling the weight of work. We did the best we could and tried to keep things as “normal” as possible for our kids. In late 2021 we started some home improvements on the house, bills were getting paid down, 2022 was looking to be a productive year. I even decided to rebrand my business after the holidays and was excited about the new direction I would be going in.
2022 turned out to be far more difficult that we anticipated.
Our heater broke in February, it was a warm winter so I wasn’t in too much of a hurry to have it fixed. I don’t know why that is always the place my mind wanders to but perhaps I want to blame the heater. Gregg, my husband, got sick right around that time. It was just the regular flu, no big deal, he started feeling better after about a week. But a week or two after that, he was sick again. He was always pushing himself, “No big deal, I’ll be fine,” he would say. He kept refusing to go to the doctor, and didn’t want to take my medicine suggestions, he had his own routine when he got sick, we had been together for almost 30 years, I was used to it. After a week or two he started having trouble walking, he was exhausted, sleeping in his recliner (when he could sleep at all). “If I could just get a good night’s sleep, I’ll be fine,” he said. We told him to see a doctor, his bosses told him to see a doctor, his employees told him to see a doctor.
On April 23rd I forced him to go to the emergency room, we figured he would be there a day or two to recover. He was retaining water, his heart rate was high, his blood pressure low, things we believed the hospital would fix up. We were texting with friends and family, joking around, the kids were home with my mom. I don’t remember exactly how many hours we were there, six I think. I was planning to leave in the evening around 8-8:30 to go home to the kids, I would bring them to see him the next day. I’m not going to go into all of the details, essentially, he had a heart attack that they were not able to revive him from. We didn’t know that he had underlying conditions. My mom already had the kids in the car, so they came to the hospital where I had to break the news to them.
I can’t even begin to explain the things that went through my mind that day, or even the next day.
I was on auto-pilot because, as I explained before, I was built for chaos. We are so very lucky, honored and blessed to have the family and friends that we do. Gregg was incredibly loved and so many people have shown the girls and I extraordinary support this year. We are doing as well as we can be and learning each day how to deal with the emotions that arise.
There have been many times this year that I have thought about my business.
So many times I have wanted to get back to social media, send out an email, do a live event, but I would get distracted or even scared and would just go back to “planning”. I finally made the decision that November would be my month to truly come back, because it is a month when people feel most thankful, and I am so very thankful this year, even when things seemed overwhelming.
You see, it’s so easy to let the “bad” things get to us, but I’m raising my kids to look for the “good”. I love my kids and I love the life we have built and continue to build, but I also adore my business community. I started selling on the Etsy platform in 2014 and my business has grown so much in the last eight years, but I have grown so much as well. My customers, my business friends, the handmade and small business communities that I belong to, you have all supported me through the best and worst times while on this journey and we have so many more moments to share. I can’t always promise that things will be happy rainbow moments, but I promise that after every storm, we will look for the rainbows together.