I sat down to write my
God: (Ok, maybe there is a little order) "You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning. You turn my darkness into light" - Psalm 18:28. Take care of Dude up there and give him big hugs, kisses and high fives! I miss him so much.
My family: It hasn’t been an easy road as my parents are grieving the loss, too. They also have no idea what to do sometimes because it is frustrating to not be able to take away my pain. No doubt, they try their best to make sure I have enough space to grieve and encourage me to move forward, too. Thank you for making it possible for me to be in Aruba over the anniversary of Dude's death. Zoe and Phoebe, our dogs, have been the biggest comfort with a never-ending supply of hugs, kisses, tail wags, and snuggles. Those two always know how to make me smile.
Dude’s family: Thank you for all of your love (and Scramble games) during your time of deep grief. You have adopted me into the family and have been an incredible support. It has been a huge help for me to talk to you. Know that Dude will always remain someone so special to me and there will always be a hole in my heart now that he is gone.
My favorite Spiders, you know who you are: You swooped right in and have surrounded me even though many of us are geographically distant. We’ve bonded through laughter and tears, photos and sweet memories. Thanks for taking care of me. Y’all are as loyal as the day is long. I hate that we have to go through this, but I am glad we are together.
Mary: You are an angel on this earth that God sent to help me.
Spiders: Although it’s been under horrific circumstances, I’ve really appreciated all of the notes and messages and memories you’ve shared. I have kept every one and have shared them with Mike’s family. We are blown away by the impact that he had on so many people and are comforted by all the stories. One Spider and I were talking right after he died and I mentioned to her how much I enjoyed hearing stories of people’s interactions with Mike. Her response was “Well, I suspect you’l l be hearing those for many years to come.” I sure do hope so. Mike and I used to always joke that between the two of us, we knew the entire school. I’ve enjoyed getting to meet and befriend many of you I didn’t know before this. Thanks for reaching out.
My small group: I’d never be able to do what I did that night without your help. Thanks for all you have done for me whether it be sitting next to me when I can’t come up with any words, praying for me, bringing me things to make me smile, or driving a long way just for a hug. I am so blessed to have you ladies in my life.
My friends: It’s not necessary to know the right words or to say anything at all. Any little thing has made a difference. I know I haven’t been the most fun, but I hope you understand and know that I appreciate all of your support. For those of you that never got to meet Dude, when we all get to heaven someday I’ll introduce you. Until then, I hope you'll get a glimpse of him through me.
Colleagues: You have been patient and do all that you can to make me smile throughout the day. Work isn’t the best place to be, but boy do I have some caring colleagues!!
Bloggers I’ve never met: The fun thing about blogging is that you get a glimpse into people’s lives that you have never met and may never meet. I’ve received notes of support and prayers from many of you. How cool that we can be a community even when we are so far apart and only know each other through our little space on the web?!
Dude: Even though I have a tendency to get so mad at you for what you did, I am so thankful for the time that we got to spend together. Thank you for finding ways to take care of me despite your own pain. I will love you and miss you forever. Stay close.
I’ve learned that this will be a lifelong healing process, but things will get better. They have gotten better. I am so blessed to have so much love and support. Thank you for everything and please stay close.
With a grateful heart, I wish each and every one of you a happy new year.