No emotional updates today. I'd like to post one tomorrow in recognition of four months since Rachel's passing. One thing I would like to do outside of the normal update is to sincerely thank everyone for all of thier tremendous support during this journey (yes - I'm still lagging on my thank you cards). I visited a good friend of mine recently who suggested that many of Rachel's dedicated readers may be interested to hear how we have been using the funds that were so generously donated to her memorial and to help out my family as we adjust to life without her.
I wanted to provide a few updates to let you know your generousity has been put to good use. So many people contributed money and it has done so much to help us "not worry" about some of the financial expenses associated with Rachel's death. For example, did you know an average sized obituary in the San Jose Mercury News can easily go over $1,000? I think that is borderline abuse, but, we still wanted to get the mesage out in the Bay Area's largest newspaper. We used some of the memorial funds to pay for the funeral expenses; cremation, ceremony, obituary,etc.. We also made two large contributions to LLS and Be The Match in Rachel's honor. We have also set up two long term memorials in Davis that we are very excited about. The first one is donating a new hand-carved sea turtle that will display Rachel's name to the Delta Breeze Carousel located in Central Park in Davis, CA. I have posted a picture of the work in progress in the photo section of this website for those of you who are interested. Our kids used to ride this carousel and Rachel and I used to enjoy going to the Farmers Market in Davis on Saturday's whenever we would visit. It means a lot to us to be able to help the city replace one of the animals and have a lasting memorial of Rachel in such a special place to us: Here is a link with a picture of the carousel: http://daviswiki.org/The_Flying_Carousel_of_the_Delta_Breeze.
We have also recently used some of the funds to pay for a park bench dedication in Northstar Park in Davis overlooking the duck pond and playground where we spent so much time with our family and just across from the soccer feilds where Rachel played so many games growing up in Davis. There will be a plaque on the bench with Rachel's name and the quote from Winnie the Pooh author A. A Milne, “If there ever comes a day when we can't be together keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever." It's a beautiful spot and less than a five minute walk from Linda's house. I will be sure to post pictures once the bench is in place hopefully within the next few months. We also used some of the funds to take the kids on the Disney trip in December which was a great time and very healing for all of us being in such a magical place together. Rachel really wanted to get one last trip in with the kids at the end to Disneyland and unfortunately she was just to weak to do it. As the kids reminded me when I tried to convince them that Hawaii was a better option, "Mommy promised!" We definitely felt her presence throughout the trip.
I am in sales and I have been fortunate to be able to provide a comfortable living for my family up till now. That said a large chunk of my income comes from commissions and there are a lot of peaks and valleys associated with the cash flow. In today's economy the valleys definitely outnumber the peaks. One huge thing I was able to do is to finally refinance my home. We purchased in 2007 and have been stuck with a very high rate since that time due to the loss of equity we experienced after the housing market collapsed. Using a combination of good timing (rising market in SJ) and use of some of the funds to buy back a bit of equity we were able to complete a refinance down to a respectable 3.625% (down from nearly 7%) that will save have us a lot of money and make raising my kids in this house much easier. I spoke to Rachel about moving somewhere else should she die in order to be closer to family to help out with the kids - she really wanted us to stay here and live in this house. I can't imagine being anywhere else. Her presence is everywhere from the roses she cared for to the polka-dots she hand painted on Katie's walls. This means so much to be able to have a mangeable mortgage that will give me the financial flexibility I may need to care for the kids. You guys are the best! I can never thank you all enough. This is a long overdue Thank you to you all. I hope that by sharing what your support has provided for Rachel's memorial and our family that you can understand how much it really, really means to us! Your love and support has had such a huge impact!
We love you all!
Rachel would100% love being represented as a sea turtle!