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2020 Hope & Healing

It’s been a difficult year. Our family was pushed to the edge, shown a little grace, than pushed a little further. When we felt like we were getting back on our feet with mom than we lost our papa. Loosing papa in the middle of the greatest crisis of our lives felt like what I imagine suffocating would feel like. I remember driving back and forth to the hospital screaming, crying, and singing at the top of my lungs the new hit Shallow by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. (Yikes if you were driving next to me) That’s what I felt like, we were so far from anything we knew to be safe and everything was unknown. We took one step in front of the other- having no idea where each turn would take us. The weeks passed and then months. How did we get here. We were so grateful for everyday and every accomplishment and felt so much sorrow all at the same time. The two emotions were enough to take out a small army.  If your reading this than you know mom, she’s one of the strongest women you have probably ever met. Super mom- who at one point had four different kids at four different schools. Mom who worked in each class and still found the time to make every Halloween costume or dress for the school dance. Mom who volunteered for eight years! for our preschool as the second Vice President! Mom who could pack and unpack your house in a matter of days. Mom who came in and helped you get organized. Mom who let us go so we could grow into the adults we are today. Mom who during this time last year was caring for her father, working full time, and still giving to all of us. Mom who taught us there’s nothing stronger than a family’s bond. Mom who still picked up the pieces when we came to her homesick, heartsick, lost and confused in this ever changing world. Mom who celebrated every accomplishment no matter how great or small. As a wife now myself I can’t leave out her incredible ability having four small children to have a full meal on the table every night and a clean house for her husband (even though she told me her secret of cleaning up 30minutes before they come home). It’s our turn to be strong for mom. She needs us more than ever now. My dad and each one of us siblings brings something to mom now that’s a reflection of what she’s given to us our whole lives. I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you i close my eyes so tight in hopes to go back to a time before we lost papa; before my moms aneurysm. Life has changed. Roles have reversed. I don’t think any of us are who we used to be. My mom is a warrior. Every single day. With all that’s happened to her in the last year she continues to fight- it’s not always willingly and it’s not always how myself or someone would do things but I do know she has not given up.  Thank you to everyone who has been patient with her. Don’t give up on mom, remember who she used to be and what she’s given to you in the passed. Find the love in that to help see her through this new time of getting to know her new normal. January will be a hard month for our family as we get closer to January 12th and the day we lost our papa. Thank your for being patient, kind, respectful and helping us navigate our journey of the unknown. The love and prayer given to us in 2019 will never be forgotten. The food, the gifts, the calls, texts, visitors, the help at our homes and with our (my children), the guidance from those who’ve walked this path did not go unnoticed. Take time in 2020 to celebrate your loved ones, let go of their flaws and get to know what makes them who they are. Life is short and nothing is promised. Mom has started again with speech therapy twice a week and has Ben testing the waters with yoga and is enjoying it. She is driving again and back working at Rancho Del Mar part time for now as their office manager. She still is an ocd cleaner but these days takes more time out to relax and refuel her body. Looking forward to hope and healing for 2020. 

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  • Kathy Shapiro : Thanks for such a beautifully written update. Such a powerful message. Sending love to you all. Please pass along my love to your mom. We were in Girl Scouts together.
  • Madonna Nicholson : Caitlin, Thank you for your beautiful tribute to your Papa and mom. I have had the privilege of seeing/talking with your mom on several occasions in the past few months. It was a pleasure to see her participating in family activities. I know it is a hard road, but you all have her strength in you that you are giving back to her now. Here is to a happy, healthy, healing 2020 for you all. xoxo Madonna
  • Carol Gardner : Caitlin, Thank you so much for your update on your Mom. We are happy to hear that Liz is moving in a positive direction and thankful that she is surrounded by such a loving family. Going back to work part time and driving are two big steps forward. Both Pat and Liz remain in our thoughts and prayers. We think of all of you often. Love, Carol, Renee and Liam
  • Kirsten Carpentier : I have been thinking of you all, and especially Liz and Pat, as we come into a new year and January 12. Thanks for the update. I know it has been a very tough year, but you are all stronger and deeper for it. The gifts of this rough time are learning who you can lean on and what is most important. I am grateful to learn that Liz has been able to return to driving and her job. Those are huge milestones! Please give her my love and let her know I think of her and your family every day. ❤
  • Madeline Roachell : What a beautiful, Happy 2020 message. Elizabeth continues to amaze! And though the Maltese Family was certainly tested and challenged and battered, you were never broken! Your mom taught you guys how to live life like a Boss and you have taught all of us. Happy New Year to you and yours, sweetheart. We love you!! ❤️
  • Kendra Hornberger : Your mom truly is one of a kind. All the Gardner girls are. I am LUCKY to know and love you all. Sending so many prayers up for you, as always 💗
  • Jeanine Wernecke : Beautiful 2020 message. Well written with love and heart break. Very pleased to hear Elizabeth is doing very well and continues to work hard. I will be thinking about you and your family on January 12th. Love to you all in 2020!❤️
  • Mike and Laurie Young : Great message Caitlin! It was great to see your mom down at PBC . She is doing well and has awesome support from you guys. Looking forward to a great new decade in 2020!