It’s not often things catch me by surprise or take me unawares. The death of my wife did. So did the IRS taking an insane amount of time to get me a refund check.
Today I got something that just threw me for a loop.
It’s been a hard, difficult day, I have to admit. During my lunch hour I spoke with the monument company to finalize Andrea’s gravestone. Nothing has hit me as hard or affected me as much as that has. I don’t honestly know why, other than the fact that – and I’ve said this before – this just closes the door. For good. This confirms, for the world and for me that she’s gone, for good, and I would go to the cemetery and there it is written in literal stone that she’s passed and left us behind. I don’t like being emotionally out of control. I don’t really drink because of that. I get that I’m a bit more “heart on my sleeve” than many men, but that doesn’t mean I like being that way.
The other thing to bear in mind is that this blog isn’t a full picture of me as a person or my life. This is a snapshot, a small little glimpse at moments in our lives. It’s like a verbal picture, capturing the whole moment in a thousand words. I was the typical guy, liking my Husker games and looking for the KC Chiefs on the television. I just didn’t have the patience or the wearwithall to deal with losing all the time, either, so it’s not a major part of my weekends. Especially not now, with four children to care for. I hate being out of control and when Andrea left she took my self control with her so now the silliest of emotional things affect me and I leave the room so people don’t see me that way. Particularly the kids.
So today really hit me hard when I had to deal with this gravestone and look at the fact that I was giving her this monument to who she was. How do you sum up a person? I posted what I want to put and it’s appropriate because it’s for me, and her sister, and her parents. This is who she was – my sweet angel.
But in the midst of this I have to deal with real life as well. With the refund check here, finally, I catch up on bills. I paid the phone bill; I paid the car payment; I paid the kids’ tuition. I get that many will tell me that I should go to the public school and not deal with this . . . but the reality is that I cannot do that. We all faced so many changes: life, love, job, home and Abbi – the strongest of the four right now – school. I couldn’t do that to the little ones, particularly Hannah and Sam. As it stands now, all three of those little ones look to me for stability, even if I’m feeling less than stable.
So when I was finishing up the now very late registration packet for the kids, I sent a note to the school’s bookkeeper that I had sent a check for the back tuition. I was working on the registration deposit.
Then came the email: “an anonymous donor has paid $500 toward your registration.” The school says the family wants us to know how special we are.
Now, you may think $500 is no big deal in today’s economy, but it is. It’s a staggering amount of money for us. We’ve had weeks where we ate what we had in the house, be it breakfast for supper or Mac & Cheese . . . so to have another $500, so I can go pick up the kids in Nebraska without killing my parents’ budget; so I can buy uniforms for the kids who have now grown out of them…it’s huge.
Two years ago I would have flushed with embarrassment getting this kind of help. Today, I flush with humility that others would think enough of myself or the kids to help us this way. We are abundantly loved and cared for and it’s apparent that’s not just from our own family and close circle of friends.
It’s hard to know that you need the help of others, it really is. But to receive it, when in the past I’d given help without really realizing the effect it would have on others I am amazed. I am surprised and insanely thankful. In a day where I was filled with emotion and at my lowest I’d been since last year . . . someone pulled me out of that abyss, just when I needed it.
I am humbled by the help of others.