A time to give thanks…
This isn’t going to be the normal informative post offering advice on what to plant and how to use your soaker hose to effectively hydrate your lawn…
As we approach Thanksgiving Day this week I wanted to be transparent and offer a glimpse into our lives and some of the challenges we have faced this year both personally and professionally. The fact is that when you own a business, the lines between personal and professional get very blurry and they tend to cross over into one another so often that it is hard to tell where one begins and the other ends.
We are believers, when I say that it isn’t to brag or judge others…it is very simply, what we are and how we live. We are not perfect but we are forgiven. We strive to live our lives like we feel God would have us to do. We give where we can and trust in faith that we will make it through difficult times.
This year we have suffered some setbacks and heartbreaks…two stand out as particularly dramatic and have deeply impacted our lives on every front. This year we took a big step in our business and added a second crew. This meant purchasing another truck, trailer and equipment as well as hiring employees to man the crew. Things were going well and we were pleased with the growth our business was experiencing and then one morning we got that call that no business owner ever wants to receive.
Our commercial crew’s rig (truck, trailer, mowers, and other equipment) had been stolen in the night. There are not too many things more sobering than standing in the empty spot where the tools that you used to make a living and feed your family once sat and not having a clue what would happen next.
Obviously we called the police first, but my second call was to my mom. My mom, whose health has been on a constant decline for the past couple of years…but is the one person who seems like a lifeline in the storm. “Pray for us Mom…it’s all gone…” I was losing it. Thank God for my Mom’s calming words and my husband’s faith, courage and vision. They knew through the whole thing that everything would work out and probably better than before. To be honest…I had my doubts! I am grateful to God for blessing me with people who lift me up when I am feeling crushed…other lawn care professionals offered us their equipment so we could continue to operate…talk about awesome!
Thankfully all that insurance that I write checks for every month (sometimes begrudgingly) paid off…admit it, we know insurance is a necessity, but none of us really get giddy with delight over writing those premium checks each month!
Within a month the insurance had settled all the claims and our truck, trailer and equipment was all replaced. Our customers were understanding and we stepped back into our routine without a lot of struggles. We learned to be much more cautious and observant through the experience and it also made us take a long look at how we operate and to mix things up a little in the way we do business. At the end of the day, we came out the other side of a very dark experience better off. I wouldn’t recommend the means for the end, but I can’t imagine a better ending for what started out as one of our worst days.
We had just recovered from the drama and uncertainty of the theft when we received a call that my mom’s health had taken a bad turn and she would need to be moved from her apartment at the assisted living facility. All of the sudden I found myself faced with decisions to make. I am an only child, my mom is a widow and I handle her affairs.
I called Jerry and he met me at home so I could tell him about mom. He said there was only one thing to do…bring her home to live with us. Now I don’t know if you realize how huge this is…think men, think mother-in-law…how many men would invite their ailing mother-in-law to come live in their home??? Yes, my husband is one-in-a-million…he really is. We began the process of moving mom home which isn’t as easy as it sounds. She was wheelchair bound and on oxygen 24/7…the only room that could house her would be our office. We played switcheroo and downsized A LOT…moving our office into the corner of our bedroom and preparing a place for mom. We moved her home and took on the task of caring for someone who cannot even be left home alone. It was like being parents to a baby again. Feeding schedules, being up and down all night long, hiring sitters so we could do simple things like grocery shop and go to church.
Exhaustion set in…I was drained emotionally and physically and mom was not getting better…the truth was she was getting worse. I would go mow grass with Jerry just to get away from the house for a few hours. It felt good.
After a short two weeks mom was bedridden and two weeks after that, surrounded by her family in our home she took her last breath and went home to Heaven to be with her Savior and dance on the clouds with my dad. I cannot tell you how I made it through the days that followed. I was prepared, but at the same time not so much. I was so tired…nothing made sense. Jerry and our son Jordan kept me going and dealt with my crying spells and stressed out moments. Our friends and church family fed us, made us laugh and took care of things for us.
We said goodbye to mom on a sunny Tuesday with a Celebration of Life service that I think she would have loved. Before she left us she got to see our home (she loved our decor), see me cook (that’s a whole ‘nother story!), see the flowers that I grew in our garden (from the former brown thumb) and be with her family (which was good for a lot of laughs).
Our office is back in the front room again and my brain is engaged back on things of the lawn care nature. I still have moments where I cannot believe my mom is gone and it takes me off guard. I know she is in a better place and I will see her again one day, but it is a hard reality to lose your mom. Thanksgiving is a day away and I was reflecting on our losses this year and rejoicing in our gains. Sometimes life is just tough and you think you can’t face another heartache, but God gives us hope and the promise of a new tomorrow.
We wish you a Blessed Thanksgiving filled with joy and laughter!