On January 16, 2016, I had a small stroke. I was fortunate that it didn't leave any residual effects, but it was definitely a huge wake-up call for me. I realized I needed to make some changes in my life.
March 25th was the 5th anniversary of Caleb's death. For the first time, we did not do a balloon release. I just couldn't. I didn't see the point in continuing to focus on the day he died. I wanted to celebrate his life, not his death.
In May, I made the decision to leave Richard after almost 18 years of marriage. I will not go into details about why. Please do not ask either of us. And if you are one of the few that does know, please do not spread our business to anyone else. We have told the people we believe needed to know. Even then, some of them don't know all the details and won't. It is a very private and personal matter.
In June, Caden and I moved to Louisiana. We moved in with my parents so I would have help looking after Caden while I looked for a job and a place for us to live. That was quite an adjustment.
In July, I went back into the workforce full-time after 11 years of being a stay-at-home mom. I started working through a temp agency so I could get accustomed to the changes in technology and procedures since I quit work in July 2005. I was placed as an administrative assistant for a major health system in the area. I didn't realize just how much I missed working. And I certainly didn't remember how tiring it could be!
August brought the Great Flood of South Louisiana. While we were fortunate not to get any water where I'm staying, both of my brothers wound up with water in their homes while living in an area that wasn't supposed to flood. Ever. So many people lost everything they owned. It was a terrible time and people are still rebuilding their homes and their lives from it.
On August 16, 2016, while the flood waters were starting to recede in some places and just beginning to rise in others, I had to have Samson put down. He had cancer in his snout that had spread to his brain, and I didn't know until it was too late to be able to do anything for him. I was so preoccupied with other things going on, I just didn't pay close enough attention. Samson was Caleb's faithful companion from the day we brought Caleb home until the day Caleb left for the hospital the last time. It was so hard to say goodbye to Samson. I remember apologizing over and over to Samson for not realizing he was in such pain. I stayed by his side and held him in my arms until he breathed his final breath, just like I did for Caleb.
Caleb and Samson were reunited in time for what should have been Caleb's 11th birthday. This is also the first year since Caleb died that I did not do a balloon release for his birthday either. Caden was visiting his dad and I just didn't want to do anything for it. I was still mourning Samson's death and trying to console myself with the knowledge that Caleb and Samson were together again. I have to admit that it didn't help much.
Caden started a new school in August that requires school uniforms. He was not happy about that at all! I wasn't thrilled about it, but I understand the reasons for it and it does make it a bit easier when it comes time to buy school clothes. He misses picking out what he wants to wear, but has finally adjusted.
In September, I met someone new. It was quite unexpected as I wasn't even looking for anyone. I was still in the process of working on getting divorced and had been making plans for it to be just me and Caden for quite a while. There will probably be more news about him in the future.
October 31, 2016, was the day Caleb was officially dead longer than he was alive. Five years, seven months and six days.
In November, I became a permanent employee at the health system. I absolutely love working there. I like all the people and the work. And, it's not far from home.
Caden turned 8 just after Thanksgiving. We had a very small gathering to celebrate then he went to play with the neighborhood kids.
He spent Christmas with his dad so it was my first Christmas without either of my boys around. Was a bit of a hard day, but I made it through. Then, I turned 46 just after Christmas.
We've welcomed in 2017 with more torrential rain and I'm sure there are many in the area having flashbacks and panic attacks while wondering if they are going to flood yet again.
Chaos and change. Yep, that's the way I'd describe 2016. I hope to describe 2017 as the year of new beginnings and things to look forward to.
|Samson Whiteheart: October 1, 2003 - August 16, 2016|
We still miss Caleb every moment of every day. He is always in our hearts, always in our thoughts, and is loved today, tomorrow, in all ways to infinity and beyond.
Angel & Caden