We shut down the old blog on October 1, 2016 and posted our first message on our new blog on October 5, 2016. Our goal is to have a blog post once a week. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but on average, once a week. Our second post was on October 8, 2016 and our third on October 15, 2016. Then.
What happened? We didn't just get a batch of lemons dumped on us...we got hit by a semi full of lemons.
October 22..about 10:30 AM Sam's cell rang. Caller ID showed the call was from his brother. He answered and I could immediately tell something was wrong. I won't go into the details of exactly what happened in that moment, but what Sam was told was that his parents were both killed in a car accident. It was an accident. An out of the blue moment that could happen anytime. No one was at fault. No one did anything wrong. It just happened. That almost made it worse. I think we would have liked to have someone to blame.
Suddenly everything changed. I can't even describe the feelings. Sadness, despair, anger, lost. The hardest for me was that I didn't know how to help. Sam needed to process this and work through it. There is no right or wrong way for this, but I felt shut out. It hurt because I didn't know how to help and it was hurting me too. I was also lost. Funeral arrangements, wills to deal with, lawyers, real estate agents, accountants, and lots of confused and lost friends. Sam's parents were good, fun, simple people. They didn't have much. I can't imagine going through something like this with a family that doesn't get along, or an estate that is large. Fortunately, we had neither problem. Sam's family is great. They all pulled together.
Where it got hard for us was after the funeral. The holidays were upon us and there was no joy in the house at all. We slipped..ok we completely fell, off of our fitness and personal relationship wagon. We weren't fighting, but we weren't us...and it hurt, and it sucked. We talked about it, but it didn't matter. So how do you pull yourself out of a rut like this? I think everyone does it differently. Fortunately for us, Sam has an amazing sister that refused to let the family drift into darkness. She forced Thanksgiving together, then she planned Christmas together. She kept talking about how "mom and dad would have wanted us to be together". OK. Fine. We'll do Christmas together, then we can go our separate ways. That was my plan.
Boy was I wrong. We arrived at Sam's sister's house on the 23rd of December and she had hatched a scheme for us to celebrate with "mom and dad" that I could not have imagined. On December 24th, she told us to pack an overnight bag for a big surprise. I wasn't in the mood for a surprise, but I knew better than to argue..so we packed our bag and waited for a van to pick us up at the door. About 5:00 pm the van arrived, we all piled in, and drove to the airport. My mind was racing. Where could we possibly be going for an overnight trip on Christmas?
At the airport we got our tickets. We were all headed to Albuquerque, NM. Why? I had no idea. After a fairly short plane ride, then car ride to a hotel, then checking in and a quick dinner, she informed us that we had to be up at 4:30 AM. I couldn't believe it. 4:30 on Christmas day. There was grumbling, be she was in such an excited mood, that everyone agreed. 4:30, Christmas day, hotel lobby. Not a soul around but us. Suddenly two big limos pull up and we are all instructed to climb in. I have to admit that curiosity got the best of me. The limos drove for about an hour until we got to a hot air balloon facility. At that moment Jill, Sam's sister, filled us in on the rest. She had arranged to have hot air balloons take us up that morning and we were to spread the ashes of Sam's parents from the hot air balloon on the ground below. Sam's parents went on a hot air balloon ride on their wedding day, their 25th anniversary an their 50th anniversary. It was perfect. There was suddenly light and happiness that hadn't been there since the accident.
Up, up and away we went. At the right moment Sam and his brother opened the urns and said something very personal that I won't share, held the urns over the side of the hot air balloon basket and turn them upside down. At the same moment a gust of wind came up and blew some of the ashes right back at us in the basket. There was screaming and laughter and pure fun for a long time. His parents would have so enjoyed it. When we landed the hot air balloon operators had champagne and breakfast waiting for us. It was pure magic, and created a new Christmas memory I will never forget. Jill single handily turned that pile of lemons into sunshine and rainbows, and brought everyone back to where they needed to be.
After breakfast we went straight to the airport and flew home. We spent the rest of Christmas together, as a family, at our house. We were just together with no expectations.
So, where does that leave us now? Sam and I decided to take the rest of the year off from the blog to discuss what we wanted to do next. With our personal lives, with the blog, with everything. Here's where we landed. We are going to continue with the blog because it is ours, together. It keeps us accountable and we have a lot of fun doing it. We have a new Christmas tradition. Looks like hot air balloon rides will be substituting for presents and chocolates, which suites me just fine.
We will be back soon, but please feel free to share your own personal stories. Thanks for being our friends.