Find Joy. Seek Truth. Be Kind.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Welcome Home?

We've been home just over a month.
Can I just tell you how hard this last month or so has been?  H-A-R-D. 

I have been working, really working, to hold it all together.  I've tried not to be a whiner.  But it's time to just let it all hang out.  I'm going to list why this has been such a challenging time. 
You may not tell me I'm a whiner, you can just shut up and read. 
Or, click away from here, 'cause it ain't pretty.
You've been warned.

About 5 weeks into our trip Fire Lord got a call from a co-worker asking if he could borrow those clamps they'd talked about.  Fire Lord was game, but had to explain that we were, like, out of the country, on a boat, on, you know, the ocean, so the fellow would have to work it out with our house sitter.  With that settled the co-worker said something like "Well, I think you should be ok, I saw your name on an org chart, so you probably still have a job."
He didn't say this like it was a joke.  Turns out there was a lot of layoffs reorganization in Fire Lord's lab while we were gone.  By "reorganization" you can read the entire project was canceled and everyone redeployed or released from employment.  Luckily his supervisor was responsive to his rather alarmed humorous voice mail, and assured him that a job was waiting for him when he got back.

Just a week and a half before we came home we learned that my FIL's best friend had died.  She had been like a grandma to our boys, joining us for Sunday dinner and family holidays.  We got home on a Sunday, and attended her funeral the very next day.

We spent that first week home catching up on laundry and sleep, and spending some time with my SIL who had been staying with my FIL.  It was during this week that we agreed that my FIL would be moving in with us with in the next month.

The next week Firelord learned that the plum new job he had waiting for him was as a tech lead in field he hadn't worked in for 20 years.  Talk about a steep learning curve!

The rest of us stumbled around trying, without much success, to get back into our normal routine.  I had a series of medical appointments to go to, dealing with the after effects of cancer treatment and trying to tease out those symptoms from other issues.  It was spring break for our local schools so some of our regular lessons had been canceled, friends were out of town, and we just weren't getting much of anywhere.  Little did we realize that this week would be about as good as it gets for a while.

We learned on Thur. 3/28 that Fire Lord's father had died the day before.  We'd had him to Sunday dinner just a few days earlier, (like we did pretty much every Sunday).    He was 93, but we really truly believed that he would be with us another few years.  He'd been to the doctors for a check up just a couple weeks prior and the doc had said that he had the health of a man 10 or 15 years younger than he was.  We thought he'd move in with us this month.  As much as the death of a 93 year old can be unexpected, this was unexpected.

I have no words to tell you how this hit us, how shocked, surprised, sad, and guilty we felt.  The "if only"s came on hard and fast.  "If only we'd convinced him to move in with us sooner."  "If only he'd moved into a home" "If  only we'd stopped by to check on him more often" "If only he hadn't been alone"  So many "if only's".   The coroner's findings indicated that it was quick, and that there was nothing anyone could have done, even if they had been right there.  That doesn't seem to get rid of the "if only"s though.  There is little logic in emotion.

That weekend, while we planed my FIL's funeral, family started coming in.  Easter Sunday came, and Lego Kid's birthday came.  The week of the funeral one SIL and another BIL also had a birthday.  We had 14 people sleeping under our roof, plus more family put up in town.  It was amazing and wonderful to see the family again.  I loved that we got to have the little kids at our house.  But it was also crazy.  Anyone who has had a loved one die knows that feeling a funeral brings - feelings of family reunion and love, and sadness and loss.  It's crazy, and it's exhausting.

It's been a week now since the last of the family left town.  It seems like both more and less time.  Nothing is really settled yet.  Fire Lord has not only a new job to learn, but has to settle up his father's estate, and cover for me while I take care of medical stuff.  My kids lost their closest grandparents within a month of each other and we haven't settled into our homeschool rhythm.

It's just hard.  I know we'll get through this, we have wonderful friends here, and I do honestly have some of the best in-laws on the planet.  I know it could be so much worse.  But we are so very weary. 

Welcome home indeed.