- If you bring a meal, disposable dishes are most appreciated. OR please be willing to come back and get your plate - forgiving me if it is not clean when you arrive.
- I don't care about brands on anything unless I specify.
- I do not use any particular brand of laundry detergent - whatever is on sale.
- If we are not home at the time you came for whatever reason right now, it is cool enough to leave just about anything outside for a while. I check the front porch frequently as I find treasure there from little angels frequently.
- Be patient with me and thank yous. I am historically bad at this and right now, I am scatter-brained. Please give your information to Karye so I can thank you properly, though,
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I would like to start this post off by saying, WOW!!!
As you may or may not know, Brian and I come from large families. Between the two of us, we have over 50 first cousins. FIRST COUSINS. We have over 30 aunts and uncles. We have cousins with kids and kids of cousins with kids. We have friends from all over the country and beyond (eh?). We have a large church. We have groups within our church. We have amazing neighbors. We have co-workers. We are blessed with PEOPLE in our lives. Then there is this whole thing called the BLOGGING world. There are real people I have never met that read this blog and people that we have not seen in years that read this blog. I didn't know the extent of this until just this week. I mean, I knew, but I didn't KNOW, you know?
And everyone wants to know what, if anything, they can do for us. WOW!!!
I am getting bombarded with phone calls, emails, texts, facebook messages, comments, etc. asking what anyone can do.
I am coming to a place in my life that I realize people WANT to do. My mom has told me that if I do not let people DO for me, I rob them of the joy they receive from DOING. So, I am learning to accept help. I am learning that I can ease my burden when I allow others to enter my life and do something that makes them feel good.
In order to help with this difficult time, there are several avenues that anyone can take. Please, PLEASE do not take this as a solicitation for ANYTHING. This is actually very awkward and uncomfortable for me.
Brian's first cousin Karye Setterlund has agreed to be a contact point for all things practical - meals, errands, groceries, insurance, cleaning, etc.
Here is her contact information if you are interested in helping in any of these areas:
I am keeping in close contact with her as needed each day as far as what meals we need (none right now) rides for the kids, groceries, errands, etc. This will ease my phone burden which is heavy some days.
A few tips, though:
Please know that I am reading the comments. Every last one of them. Sometimes I have time to reply. Sometimes I do not. I am trying, but some days it is overwhelming. The emails coming in for me to relay to Brian - I have to admit - do not always get relayed. I get distracted. I read them, but then delete them to keep the inbox clean and forget the details. If anyone wants to send Brian a specific note, please feel free to email this account we have set up:
Brian's brother, Sean is going to monitor it regularly, print out any and all notes for Brian and bring them to us. A hard copy is still best for ensuring we read these wonderful words together. Or if you would rather send us an actual card or letter, please feel free. You can email the above address and Sean can get your our address or you can email me and I can do it if you don't have it. Every time we get a letter from someone that describes how Brian touched their lives, I see him shrug - like what did I do? I am just being me. I have told him the amount of people he has impacted has surprised even me who knows and understands how amazing he is.
You can continue to send me emails and comments for encouragement. I also facebook (Angie Baer O'Neill) if you are looking for me there. I read every single letter, etc. from everyone. I have to tell you I find great comfort in hearing from other widows. It is strange, but it lets me know that I can do it. That the boys and I will and can be okay. They are also incredibly honest. Something I strive to be. I don't want anything sugar coated.
I am trying to keep things as normal for the kids as possible right now. I do not want to shower them with gifts and sweets and other things to ease the pain as I do not want them learning to turn to such things for comfort. I want them to face their fears and grief, address them and work through them with me or whomever else can help them. This is NOT to say that an occasional pack of gum, action figure, video game, trip to the Spotted Cow or a movie isn't a nice gesture. I just don't want it to get overwhelming and I don't want to draw more attention to them than already is. Playdates are good. Letting kids come here on good days keeps things normal for them so they feel comfortable in their own house and letting them know our house is open to friends is important to me. Some days, though, they just need to get out - to get away from the visitors and the hub-bub. Grant is home every afternoon at 11:00, so I think I am going to try to set up once or twice a week playdates with friends and cousins (hello Brody) to give him something else to focus on.
Please, PLEASE do not take this as a solicitation for ANYTHING. This is actually very awkward and uncomfortable for me, but many of you have asked.
I am in the process of establishing some sort of a fund/trust in Brian's name. I am meeting with a friend/advisor to assist with this on Friday. The fund would be used primarily to help with the children's education and well-being including medical and dental coverage, etc that we will lose in the event of Brian's death. For those of you who don't know, Brian was diagnosed with this disease only one month after we were married, so we have only the life insurance available through his work. Brian and I are very smart and frugal with our money. We live within our means and do not do anything extravagant. This fund would simply allow us to continue to do that for as long as necessary until I could find the right job or pursue the best avenue for employment that is best for the children and me in the event of Brian's death.
My main goal is to keep things stable and secure for the kids. I do not want to make any rash decisions about jobs and moving out of panic. The economy is not the best right now. I would never allow the children to lose this house and our livelihood. I would do whatever it took to maintain that. The generosity that many of you have already bestowed upon us is helping that to be a reality without drastic measure. Mind you, though, I would take drastic measures if need be. However, I know that for the next X number of months or years, my boys will need me. They will benefit from the security of my being the one to get them to school and get them home from school. They will be dealing with not having a daddy around to play sports with and to read to them and to watch them when they learn a new trick or score a goal or catch a fly ball. This breaks my heart and I know it will be painful to them as other dads are helping coach, practicing with their kids, assisting with homework, or simply cheering on the sideline. I want to fill as many gaps as I can, especially in the near term if possible.
I would also like to be able to do charitable things in Brian's name and memory if God allows. We have been blessed a couple times by such organizations and nothing would give Brian more pleasure than being able to bless someone else in our situation some day.
So once again, PLEASE DO NOT THINK I AM ASKING FOR FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE. Nothing could be further from the truth. Some have told me they have prayed specifically about this and as awkward as it is for both of us, who are we to deny God's nudging? I prayed for financial provision. I didn't pray for it to be anonymous. I should have been more specific. I think God is trying to teach me something about humbleness and gratitude.
I have to say it again - PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THIS AS A SOLICITATION FOR FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE. PLEASE! Economic times are rough. We are currently blessed. There are many blessing us each day as I write this now. There are many who do not have what we have now, and who will never have what we will continue to have even when Brian does pass. So, I can't shake the guilt of this regardless. Please know, though, that should you feel lead in this way, integrity is not something I would ever compromise in any aspect of my life - financial included. Does that make sense?
Karye is the contact for this as well.
Whew, I said it..... And I lived.... Okay....Breathe....
There are so many that want to visit, see or talk to Brian. This is to be expected and we encourage it. You read above that we have large families, so crowds to us are nothing new. Due to this, though, we cannot guarantee that there may not be someone else here when any one person or group is visiting with Brian or me. I like people. I need people, family and friends surrounding me and supporting me. They distract me, make me laugh, comfort me when I cry and fill the gap when I can't make it across the gorge. Please know that if the visits are too much, I WILL SAY SO, so don't feel like you are over-imposing. I will be honest. I will do what is best for Brian, the kids and me. In saying that, though, we have a two story and a basement. If the best thing for Brian is quiet and solitude, but not for me, I can still have visitors retreat with me to the dungeon. I am learning that this process is not just about Brian. It is about all of us.
Okay, back to the point. I will still be the contact person for visits for Brian. Please don't feel like you are overwhelming me right now. Visits during the day are pretty good actually, as Gavin is at school and Brian is more alert. Monday and Tuesday evenings are not good as we have soccer. Any other evening is doable, but we will not overdo this because it also can cut into our family time that we are cherishing right now.
I know weekends are best for many due to work, travel, etc. So, PLEASE DO NOT FEEL LIKE YOU CAN'T COME OVER FOR A VISIT IF SOMEONE ELSE IS HERE. We do not know how much time Brian has remaining and weekends are the only option for many. That is just the way it is. If anyone is uncomfortable with that, just know it isn't coming from us.
AND I WILL SAY ENOUGH IF I FEEL IT IS ENOUGH. I am being honest. I told my girlfriend the other day that I needed her gone by 1:30 because hospice was coming for the first time. I hated saying goodbye to her, but I had to do it. I told some friends the other day that I needed them gone by 12:30. It was hard, but not as hard as the first time. I called a friend and cancelled a dinner plan tomorrow night because I have felt overwhelmed this week. It wasn't THAT BAD. I told my MIL I wanted her to come at 10:00 tomorrow so I could have the majority of the day to myself since Grant has a playdate. It felt good. So, really, I will say enough is enough. I am getting good at it.
Best hours for a visit:
10:00am to 3:00pm
not good: Monday and Tuesday evenings.
Other decent times:
weekends, evenings 4-7 W-F.
Best hours for phone calls:
10:00 - 7:00 Wed - Sunday
Brian is a man of few words right now. He is having some speech issues so I try to help out as much as possible, but most phone conversations are brief.
That about sums it up. I feel like a pushy, bossy, demanding little thing, but I think this is what people were looking for. If I offended anyone, I didn't mean to, but I can't apologize right now.