It has been 100 days since Rachel passed and I still have a hard time realizing the reality of the situation. I still speak to her daily (she is a very good listener), I am surrounded by her pictures in every corner of our house, and I still mourn painfully for her loss (usually at very random times). Rachel was my first true love. We shared a deep and honest love that allowed two best friends to forge a amazing partnership and create a beautiful family together. What remains is 15 years of wonderful memories that will last a lifetime. I also have two fantastic kids who inspire me every day to keep moving on. They remind me of Rachel all of the time. I see so much of Rachel in both of them that I struggle to see myself at times (Evan does have my ears). I apologize for not writing for so long it has been busy, busy, busy since returning to work just before Christmas, but I did not want to let this day pass without posting an update.
Where to begin?
Christmas was about as good as it could be given the circumstances. I was able to spend the time at home without traveling and this was a welcomed first. My mom and Linda joined us for Christmas Eve dinner along with the Johnson family and we had a tremendous feast of filet mignon and crab cakes which were a big hit. Patrick Johnson and I have become very close since losing our wives to cancer just two weeks apart. Patrick's wife Lisa passed away on the day of Rachel's Celebration of Life. Patrick has two beautiful daughters, Sierra (age 5) and Skye (age 2) and we really enjoyed having them join us for the evening. After dinner the kids were allowed to open a few presents each and they were as happy as can be. Christmas day my sister Paula and her family joined us for more presents and more food (prepared by my mom) which included two main courses a giant ham and roast beef. Evan was focussed on assembling all of the dozens of lego sets that Santa brought him and Katie was excited to ride her new "big girl" bike outside for a while.
I returned to work just before Christmas primarily to get back into the swing of things prior to the new year and it was nice to see all of my friends at Informatica. I can not thank them enough for everything they did to support us these past two years. Truly, truly amazing people with enormous hearts. So many people contributed to the fund that my friend Michael Occhipinti set up - it was mind blowing. I have so many thank you cards to write and promise I will do so as soon as possible. Everyone, Informatica, family and friends have really touched and humbled me with thier generousity and thoughfulness contributing to the different causes and support forums that we care about. Linda has actually finalized the selection of the park bench in Davis and the replacement of the sea turtle on the carousel at Central Park in Davis both done in Rachel's honor utilizing some of the funds you all most generously contributed. We will keep you posted on when each item is in place to continue Rachel's memorial. Thank you, thank you, thank you all so very much for your love and support!
I've been concerened about my return to work primarily because of the kids. We have support with Mary Dee, my mom, Linda, neighbors, family, friends etc... but they have been through so much change these past few months from losing thier mom to having me around fulltime for everything and to now not having me there sometimes. You never know how much change they can tollerate without effecting them. What I have found so far is that they are resilliant and doing well and for the most part the one who seems to be suffering the most is me because I miss them so much. I guess it is an eye opener to really see how much they keep me grounded and focussed. They make me laugh, they make me proud, they make me happy, they remind me of Rachel. They are everything to me and I tell them how much they mean to me multiple times a day.
The first week of the year we took a short trip up to the Sierra foothills to visit Patrick and his girls who live in Angels Camp, CA. We were able to get the kids up to the snow for a few play days and do some "extreme" sledding. The weather was great and we had a great time. It is so beautiful up there. I really want to get the kids up to the snow as much as possible this year and hopefully get them hooked on snowboarding (or skiing if they prefer). I will post a few pictures later today on this site.
I am keeping up Rachel's tradition of reading "chapter books" to the kids. Evan and I just finished the Hobbit and I took him to see the movie last week. He was so excited and such cute little geek about all of the details related to middle earth. It was a great boys night out for me and my little man! He has since started watching all of the youtube Lego videos about The Lord of the Rings to get ahead on the next books. Katie and I are starting Prince Caspian the second book in the Chronicles or Narnia series and she is very excited after reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. She is a big fan of Queen Lucy. I am having a lot of fun re-reading these classics with the kids even if it has REALLY extended the bedtime process. Read, read, read to your kids friends it is a priceless experience.
I have so much more I want to write but I am pressed for time at the moment. I might try to add more tonight or in the next few days. In general we are doing pretty well and keep busy helps the time go by but we miss Rachel so damn much.
Love to you all - we are 100%