The time has come where I need and am ready to explain my sudden disappearance from the world the past couple of months. It all started on a hot summer day in July.
July 17th, 2014 to be exact.
It started off like any other day, the hot Oregon sun rose high over the Willamette valley, and by 10 am it was already reaching the 90’s. My kids were already complaining about the heat and fighting because they were bored. As the day wore on, I couldn’t wait until bed time, and I kept watching the clock. Afternoon came and it was near 100 when my husband had to leave for work. I didn’t want him to go, it was summer, and the kids were driving me crazy. Just another day in our household. After several goodbyes and a round of kisses, he was off to work, and wouldn’t return until everyone was in bed. But it turned out, I’d see my husband a lot sooner than I excepted, and I had never been more thankful to see him.
I get a text but I hadn’t read it yet. A few minutes later, my phone is ringing, and it’s my husband. I answer and the first thing I am able to hear after telling him for nearly 5 minutes that I couldn’t hear were these dreaded words…”The mill is on fire…”
Panic ensued and I asked him what he was talking about. He told me that his place of work was burning to the ground. I, of course, started to cry. A lot transpired in that 3 and a half minute phone call. At the end of the day, my husband stood by, and watched his place of employment of 15 years burn to the ground. It was his home away from home, and he had spent almost half of his life there.
He finally made it home around 7:30 pm that night and I hugged him tighter than I ever had before. And I loved him more than I thought possible. I almost lost him. The reality of that scared me. Thankfully, everyone at work that day made it out alive with only a few minor injuries. But it still frightened me as he told me what happened. He was one of the last men out of the building. He had to throw one of his coworkers down some steps to get him to leave the building. It still gives me nightmares to this day.
The following Monday, the company held a meeting at the local high school, and it wasn’t hopeful. The mill was a total loss, if they rebuilt, it would take at least 2 years. That meant nearly 250 people were out of employment. 250 families were just as lost as we were.
Over the weeks things were crazy and stressful, we didn’t know which way was up. We had bills to pay. Four children to feed, clothe, and provide a home for. It was a mess. Things finally started to look up for us when he was offered to transfer to another location but the only problem was it was on swing shift and a 2 hour drive from home. My husband had no choice to take it. There was nothing in our town that could pay him what he was earning before the fire and even then, we were barely making it paycheck to paycheck. After a month of driving back and forth to work, only getting around 3-4 hours of sleep everyday, my husband and I made the decision to move to the town of his new worksite. So that’s what we did in September and things are finally looking up. But not before tragedy hit again…this time it was a personal one for me.
August 8th, 2014
I lost my best friend. The kindest, most beautiful person I knew, on the inside and out, and she was taken away from this world at the tender age of 24. Usually, I deal with grief as good as one can. I’ve lost people I love- friends and family. But the day I lost Mirranda, the girl I’ve known since I was 12, I lost myself. I cried for days…I couldn’t cope. I curled into myself, and finally disappeared from the world. I just couldn’t deal with the pain and I couldn’t focus on anything. It was one of the most hardest things I have ever been through or felt. After her memorial service, I turned into myself even more. It made it real when I was still believing it wasn’t. But sitting there, holding her mother’s hand, barely making it through my eulogy, and seeing all the photos- my world came crashing down.
Aside from my husband, Mirr was my other half. She was my soul sister in every way and it felt like someone ripped my heart out. I missed my deadline. I put off edits. I stopped posting on social media. I stopped writing with the exception of a special project I’m working on. I put off all my responsibilities with my career and I cut people off. People who were trying to do nothing but be there for me. I shut them out. I didn’t respond. I just wanted to be left alone.
After a couple months, my husband and amazing friend/fellow Booktrope author Cindy, pulled me through my funk. Though I hardly talked, Cindy would send me text messages randomly to see how I was, and to talk some sense into me. I don’t know what I would’ve done without the 2 of them. Even if they didn’t realize it, the few words of advice and love they gave me, stirred something inside of me, and I realized that the time for grieving was over. The pain will always be there but I need to learn how to keep pressing forward with it. Of course, there has been several speed bumps along the way. Another tragedy hit our family just as I was getting my footing again and set me back a little. But I’m getting through it. One day at a time. That’s all I can do.
I’m back to writing. I finished my edits for book two. I’m gearing up for the release while working on book 3. I’m simply back. I’m not 100%, I’m not sure I ever will be, but I’m trying. That’s all that counts. I am working on returning to the social media world and I wanted to start here. I have a long road ahead of me but I know that I can get through. I have no choice…my friends and family won’t let me give up. And that makes me the luckiest girl in the world.