Yes, I loved listening to Paul Harvey!
Ok, so last night I left off at the end of June. The kids and I had made an impromptu trip up North, had an incredible time with my family and then headed home. The next weekend was 4th of July weekend. My sister-in-law Amy called me mid-week to ask if I knew what was going on with Mom, that she was in the hospital but they didn't know much else. Long story short, she was having abdominal swelling and intense pain and was in the hospital, but I didn't know much else. I went to a holiday pool party on Friday the 3rd. I got a call during that party from John (my brother) that Mom was not doing well, so I left the party to get ready to head up. She agreed to a decompression treatment, which seemed to work, so instead of heading up that night I decided that Jeff and I would head up in the morning if necessary. My Mom was a tough gal...she had gone up against some pretty daunting health issues before and come through like a trooper, so I was assuming this time would be like all the previous ones. On Saturday morning I got up and called the ICU nurse. She told me that my Mom had had a horrible night and that she was NOT doing well at all. Jeff and I packed quickly, turned the kids over to his parents Wanda and Al, and drove like a bat out of hell to get to the Quad Cities where she was hospitalized. During our drive the decision was made to try surgery. We got to the hospital shortly before the surgeon finished. He was explaining everything to us as Mom was brought back to the ICU floor and then we heard a Code Blue over the PA System. We knew that was not a good sign.
So, my Mom died on July 4. Ironic, really...she was always patriotic. Her brother had been in WW II, and her grandson had recently died at war in Afghanistan. I sometimes wonder if she just missed him so much that she gave up that previously seen iron will and slipped into the next stage. My Dad, her husband of over 58 years, lost his beloved wife, faithful card player, and all-around best friend. My 3 brothers and I lost the person that we often fought with, but always came running back to for advice, reassurance, and true, honest, unconditional love.
The next few days/weeks were spent making arrangements, helping out my Dad, and spending time with family. Avery's 3rd birthday was celebrated the day after her actual birthday when she, Drake, and Jeff arrived at my parents house. I missed my baby girl's 3rd birthday. Once again, my friends and neighbors kicked into gear. Funeral clothes were bought for my kids...flowers were sent...2 of them even drove the 6+ hours to come to her funeral and then drove back. The ones that couldn't make it pitched in and watched the kids of the ones that did come. How in the hell did I get so lucky to not only be blessed to be born into an amazing family, but then turn out to have friends that would part the sea and move mountains for me? Wow...humbling really.
Eventually, as in February, everyone has to go home. I returned on weekends to "help" my Dad, and gradually we all began finding life without Mom and Schuyler. Our True Dungeon event was fast approaching in mid-August, so once again, work was there as something that had to be focused on, whether we wanted to or not.
August is 3 things to our family...Gen Con month, Drake's birthday, and back-to-school! We got through Gen Con. It was not my finest week, but we got through it, and honestly, before we went, I had my doubts. We did a Memorial Run for Schuyler's Memorial Fund and raised an INCREDIBLE amount of money for the Fund. As always, Gen Con meant reconnecting with some old friends and meeting some new. As with my family and friends, many of the friends we've made because of Gen Con and True Dungeon have become total blessings in our lives and I can't imagine not knowing them. They are a wonderful group of people. Once we returned from Gen Con it was time for Drake's 8th birthday and then back-to-school! Avery began pre-K this year, so everyone got back into the "school" mode. Trips were made up north as we could swing it. Also, either at the end of August or the beginning of September we adopted a puppy. My wonderful friend Carolyn found this sweet boy on the roadside, covered in seed ticks, and in bad need of some TLC. She provided that to him and then "introduced" the pup to me via her cell phone camera! It was love at first site, so we brought him home. I can honestly say that Albus Dumbledog has been a GREAT addition to our family! I love having a dog again. Not so much when he chews ONE of my favorite pair of shoes, but most of the time I'm over the moon about this pup!
Labor Day weekend was spent up north with my family. My brother John was turning 50 on the 25th. After Schuyler and Mom's deaths this year he said he wanted to skip the party and just forget about it. After a bit of prodding, we got him to agree to a party, and Amber got to work! We all went to Kewanee for the weekend of the 25th to celebrate. My brothers Jeff and Dave were able to join us. Avery and I stayed at my Dad's for about 10 days so that we could join in on some other activities in October. Schuyler's headstone was set on the 24th...7 months after his death.
The weekend of the 2nd had a couple of significant events. First, 10/3 is my brother Dave's birthday, and he was there to celebrate it with us, which was great. We're lucky to get together once a year, and our time in October was the 3rd time we had all been together. Not all happy occasions, but together regardless. The 3rd was also the day that the City of Kewanee honorarily renamed one block of a city street to honor Schuyler. The block of Willard Street that Wethersfield School sits on is now knows as Sgt. Schuyler Patch Way.
After the street dedication we went to the Welcome Home party for the troops that was organized by several wonderful people in Kewanee. We got to meet some of the guys from Schuyler's unit that he was friends with. It was good to meet these guys and laugh and share funny "Schuyler" stories.
After heading back home it was time for some SIU football weekends, carving pumpkins, finding the perfect glass pumpkin, and other fun fall activities. Halloween is a family favorite also! That's Jeff's time to shine!
Jeff and I started out the month with a trip to see a production of "To Kill A Mockingbird" at the Carson Center in Paducah. It was great. Amber and I met on Veteran's Day in Tuscola for some shopping and fun. I had a "Girl's Night" and fixed an Italian Feast for a group of friends. Thanksgiving was fun with both my family and Jeff's family joining us at our home. Jeff and I planned a wine tour on Wednesday, complete with a babysitter for the kids. That was a fun day and possibly a new tradition! John, Amy, Seth, my Dad, Greg, Doug, Jen, Katie, Allie, Wanda, and Al were all able to spend Thanksgiving with us. Amy and I got up and did some fun Black Friday shopping and scored some sweet deals!
The very first Patchy's Red White and Blue Christmas toy drive was held on the 12th. Over 800 toys were collected for the Kewanee Salvation Army. What a blessing to be able to use Schuyler's name to benefit so many. Simply amazing. The kids and I had a good time in Kewanee for the toy drive. The kids got to go sledding! It must've been a memorable experience because every time they see even a few snowflakes Avery asks if we can go sledding soon!
And that about gets us up to Christmas. My Dad came on the 23rd. We mainly hung out here, played some cards, drank a bottle of wine or two (ha ha) and spent time as a family. The kids had a great Christmas (shock of shocks).
And so we come to tonight...New Year's Eve...December 31st...the end of 2009. As I've said, I'm quite glad to see it go. I'm looking forward to a less emotionally draining 2010. I hope to set and accomplish some goals (kinda like resolutions, but without the whole "resolution" thing!). I want to continue to spend time with my awesome friends and family. I want to entertain, have fun, and be around fun people. I want to spend fun times with my kids...less time yelling and more time laughing. I want to spend more time with my hubby...less "work" talk and more "*$" talk...ha ha!
I hope 2010 is a memorable year...I know 2009 sure was. I hope the disappointments are minimal and the laughs are plentiful. Until next year....