June 2 marks the one-year anniversary of our dearly loved, Jeff, joined the "Big Fishing Team in the Sky". He fought the lung cancer that permeated his strong body with every bit of his being. The boys and I have experienced some great challenges in the last year. Shortly after Jeff's passing, we had wind damage that took the roof off of a building. No worries, building was repaired by some handy Amish craftsmen. Cedar Rapids suffered its worst flooding and continues with the many struggles to re-establish businesses and homes and like the raindrops the pain trickles to many areas of our community. The community is working to identify how it plans to rebuild going forward. Furthermore, my ethics caused me to step away from my job in August and I have been searching for work since then. Being without work has been a tremendous struggle for me personally having worked hard all my life. Sit and stare at the walls for nine months and you find a thing or two out about yourself. Family matters most; work just pays the bills. Co-workers from past employers have been the icing on my cake. Their wacky emails and phone calls have kept me going on some really trying days. I raise my glass to my many friends and cheers for keeping me going. The boys have been amazing in their journey. Kids do the grief thing a bit differently then us adults and a fishing trip hosted by Jeff's best friend, Craig, and cousin, "Jammer", put the smile back on our little guy's face. Learning to live without your Father at age 12- and 14 has been a challenge and I am very proud of the guys for hanging in there. Family has really come to rescue on many occasions. When the tornado this Spring took the roof off of the other building and did a bit of damage to the house, I just felt defeated. Not to worry, John S was right out and his sweet wife, Rebecca, was on the phone. We went and helped out the neighbors that had more significant damage. Parts for the building are on order and someday the building roof will be fixed. Kris and Rick have kept us in close range all year. Not sure what we would have done without them. Trenton eats more poptarts out of Kris' pantry and Dalton is a aeration dude for their lawn company, Irish Green. Good thing we only live a few minutes apart. My parents have been there for us time and time again. Running a 40-acre farm is getting easier, but there are moments. My parents have been through so much in the last few years that I just pray they are justly rewarded. My brothers and sister have helped so often. Jake helped Dalton fix the door he shut a little too hard and even gave him a little visit when Big D was practicing his teenagerness. Deb's kids are some of Trenton's favorite guys to hang with and Sammi is my little niece that keeps me on my toes. Certainly this is such a brief and incomplete list of supporters for our year of firsts.
Pardon my rambling, but it does take a village. What has been the hardest thing this year? We all agree, we miss Jeff's big strong hugs the most. Why would he be taken when he was only 44? Because we all need to remember we are only here for a while. Some minutes, some days and some live to be 100. What matters is what you share with others. Thank you to each and every one of you for helping us along the path this year.
Becky, Dalton and Trenton