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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

So here we sit on the brink of Christmas Day, 2009.

This is the year that my life, and the lives of my family, has been shaken to the core. Almost everything I ever feared might happen has happened this year but somehow I and my loved ones, excepting Andrew, are still standing.

But we will survive and even prosper.

This year began, already bad for a lack of work in 2008, and went horrible with another period of downtime followed by a cut in income. Like everyone else, asset values tanked and net worth dropped. Florida became a total drag as the tourism ceased to exist and my management company “grew” itself out of existence for the non-McMansion type rentals. And then we find out that our condo association has been screwing us (owners). Then, just to pour salt in the wound, the industry for which I spent the better part of three years building an application for – my shot at being an entrepreneur – basically ceased to exist in central Florida.

Second quarter began with suspicions that Andrew might have a health issue and progressed to a confirmation that there was indeed an issue and numerous tests to determine what it was.

Mid year kicked in with my tenants announcing that they would be moving at the worse of all possible times. A time when my rental place, which used to be one of (on average) 6 in Hamden, was now one of more than 100 as every homeowner in financial straights attempted to rent their homes in a shot at saving them from sale / foreclosure.

Mid year progressed as Andrew failed to recover from the surgery done to correct his suspected issue.. And as much as this little guy tried to hold on to life, and in spite of the prayers of more people I ever realized I knew, the mid year period ended with his funeral and unimaginable grief.

And so we come to the end of the year ……

Since Andrew’s death, my family has all but fallen apart. Issues in dealing with grief have overtaken our “normal” lives (as if anything is normal any more). The turmoil that accompanies these things has all but alienated Annie and AJ – who had already pretty much lost the parents they knew when Andrew went into the hospital – from us (I do understand this as much as it hurts) . Allison has moved to another town (albeit close by, she is no longer down the street), I am in process of losing Florida (it’s current value is 1/3 of the mortgage) , we have moved into our first (smaller) house to escape reminders of Andrew and to “save” that house in case things get worse , and just to end the year on a high note, I hit a pedestrian the other day when she ran out in front of me from between two stopped cars. Oh yeah, and I broke a tooth this morning.

So how exactly am I still standing ?. What purpose was there to any of this? Can anything else possibly happen ?

I take solace in knowing that Andrew is not suffering and is in that “better place” we all believe in. I believe that, as Allison so eloquently said in Andrew’s eulogy, “that Pepper (our Dalmatian that he loved and we had to put down two years ago) will once again meet you in joy and devotion at the door, waiting to be pet; that Nana, having guarded you for these intolerable months, will take you in her arms and call you “darlin’.” That the grandparents we never met will talk to you of Mommy, and that Grandpa Shaw will still be the only one allowed to call you Andy. That this better place I keep hearing about has a vast library of Disney movies and Stitch dolls and Gameboys that need no batteries.”

I choose to believe that the possible (and the probable) loss of property and/or it’s value is too make us realize how little property really means.

I must believe that the grief issues will bring us all closer and make us stronger, both individually and as a family.

I have no choice.

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