Wednesday, October 24, 2012

{Unexpected Goodbyes}

What's the quote? Best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray? It seems to be the theme this week.

The original plan was to stay an additional year and work at one of the international schools for a considerably larger amount of money. In September, days after we had made the decision to sign our lives to another year of China, we got the notification that my mother had decided to stop chemo. We knew that while coming to Suzhou was an inspired and growth experience for us as a new couple, we also realized that the time had come to return home and face the challenges waiting for us in the states. My contract originally was slated to end on December 22nd, we had arranged it so we could come home on the 3rd, instead. Everything fell into place and we knew we had made the correct decision. With that life continued onward.

On the 16th of October we met my dear friend, Ashley in Shanghai to bring her and her father home with us after their spending the last week touring northern China. Together we traveled to Hong Kong and enjoyed much needed time together catching up, enjoying the sights, and showing off my very meager amount of Chinese learned over the past year. It was an excellent trip, with blog posts carefully thought out waiting to be posted.

Jeff and I got back into Suzhou Sunday night after a long day of Chinese traveling, and spent the morning the Monday after casually unpacking and enjoying downtime. After editing pictures and gearing up to entertain you with posts of our most recent exploits, I received some poignant emails from my father letting us know that my mother's time was drawing to a close. Setting everything a side, having a frank discussion with Jeff, and some answered prayers, we began to set to task finding tickets home in the hope of getting home in time to ease last moments. In the midst of our hostage negotiations with the ticketing company over changing flight plans, we were told of her passing. The shock set in, and has yet to wear off. Setting emotion aside, we went into full drive of getting things aligned to come home. In under 12 hours we had tickets booked, bags packed, work notified, final paperwork taken care of, friends in and out of the apartment taking assorted things, keys passed off, and at the airport taking flight back home. It's truly amazing how people rise to help in times like this. I promise I will make individual thanks in full detail as time goes on, but for now, I want those of you who made this possible to know that we have been so blessed to have you in our lives and cannot begin to express the amount of respect and gratitude we have for you.

It hasn't quite set in, the weight of what we've done, and what has happened. I haven't given myself too much time to dwell on my mother being gone. It's still very surreal being back on Kentucky soil, breathing the fresh, clean air and watching the rolling green hills pass by the window instead of the sea of skyscrapers, apartment buildings and old canals that lined the streets of our newly abandoned home. It's a heavy set of mixed emotions I have to face, and don't know how to appropriately respond to the condolences on our loss, or the elation by many of our returning. I'm happy to be here, but I will sincerely miss the place we've left behind.

It's been deeply touching to receive such an outpouring of love and support from so many different people. I want to respond to each of you, but I haven't the words or heart for it yet. Please excuse my lack of etiquette. I do read each and everyone of your words and cherish them. I know that I am not the first person to lose a loved one, and it's heartening to hear from those of you kindred spirits that are so eager to comfort a hurting soul. I hope to be such a boon to others in the future.

My mother was such a phenomenal person who continues to amaze me beyond her passing. She gave me my strong sense of independence, an excellent sense of moral rightness and tolerance of others, and the freedom to make as many mistakes as I could so that I could grow to reach my potential, albeit through some very tough lessons. I'm grateful for the time we had, grateful for the forgiveness she showed me for my brash stubbornness, and for the continuing love I feel from her as I move forward from this point.

This next week is going to be filled with following job leads, finding living arrangements, being with family, and mapping out a very uprooted and unpredictable future. I hope those of you who are able will be able to join us this weekend in celebrating her life as we lay her to rest. You can find information on the services here.

Much love,

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful words from a beautiful girl about her wonderful mom. Blaine and I send our love to you.