Never once did I ever imagine I would be living where I am today.  As a teenager, I often thought about getting married and having a family, but never did I  ever imagined my life would turn out as is has.

John, the boys, and I constantly talked about our future. As the boys approached their final years in high school, it was all John and I could do to keep us from dreaming about them venturing out on their own, us retiring in our home and traveling. We started working on the house and getting everything remodeled so we could spend many more years there, and our boys and their future families could return and spend the holidays with us.

In our minds, it was beautiful. What I think we all dream about as parents and growing older. Our kids moving on, meeting the loves of their lives, having a family and together creating new traditions. It all still sounds so beautiful as I write these words.

Then accidents, cancer, and death turn a world you once dreamed of upside down, and all you can do is try to wake up each morning and be thankful for the people you have in your life for as long as you have them. You do your best to survive.

After John’s death, I spent every minute of every day, filling it up. Doing my best to keep my mind and body as busy as I possibly could. Finishing projects we started the summer before, repainting and redecorating. I knew fall would come quickly, and it was going to be a long hard winter without him.

It was all I could do to get the boys and me through those months without him. It was lonely, empty and cold. There were nights I wasn’t sure I was going to make it myself. But my boys had a way of checking on me at just the right time. I would hurry up and dry my tears before they entered the room, and we would lay on the bed and talk for hours about how much we missed their father.

We had long talks about the house and what it meant to each of us. I needed to let go of the house, Joey wanted to let go of the house, but Johnny, he wanted to hold on in a bad way. There was no hurry for anything to happen soon. So we managed our best to get through the fall and winter months and look forward to the spring.  When spring arrived, I felt alive. Yard work, flowers, opening the pool were all things that helped me get out of the house. The thought of the house was still heavy on my mind. The boys and I continued to talk about it.  I was ready to sell.  I needed to keep moving forward, and I encouraged the boys to do the same.

We talked again about moving forward, living life, and finding love.  The boys talked about wanting to meet a girl, fall in love and have a family of their own.  They talked about wanting to experience the love and life their father and I had.  I told them they are never going to find the love you long for in the basement of Sandhurst drive. “She is out there,” I would tell them. But you’re going to have to take the chance of leaving the past behind and tucking the memories of a life that once was into the depths of your heart and mind.  Love exists in the world, and you will find it, I told them.  I said, “You know what to look for. You know what love looks like, how much work it takes to sustain love, and how you must always put love before hate.”  Always remember how your father and I loved each other, and I know God will find you, love.

A few weeks later, they both came to me and told me they were ready. Ready to move out, but they didn’t want to leave me.  I told him I had been alone before; I have survived so much, and I will be fine. You have to let go of me to find her.

From then on it was final. I would sell the house. The boys would move out and I would find a new place to live. Very quickly things fell into place for all of us. I had to rehome Memphis (our great dane). Which broke my heart into pieces.  She ended up with a widower who had three sons and who fell in love with her.  They also had more land.  The shelter kept wanting to send me pictures but it was too heartbreaking for me.   As long as she was ok and loved, I was ok with not seeing pictures.

Just as quickly as things fell into place they fell all fell apart for all of us.  Joey was starting school and they were supposed to move into their new apartment the week before school started.  After signing the lease they found out one of the friends, who intended on moving in with them, lost his job.  Life happens!

Monday morning came and I was in a panic for them.  I searched high and low for a new place.  The week of school they moved into a three-bedroom apartment in Clifton.  Joey now walks to school and is getting to experience the “college life” in his last year of college.  Johnny is working and is also doing well.  He loves living with his brother and his best friend.

I decided to put the house on the market even though I had no idea where I was going to live.  Remember, I promised myself to live fearlessly.  I was trusting in my faith and really turning my entire life over to God. I was scared to death. Patience and trusting things will work out is not my strong suit.  I spent weeks prepping the house for sale.  I put it on the market on a Friday evening and sold it on Saturday morning.

I had been spending a lot of time in Hamilton Ohio and decided to look at a couple of places there.  I have fallen in love with the area and of course the people.  These new friends I have been introduced to over the past eleven months have all been so great to me and very welcoming.  To be honest……………… I don’t think I could have gotten through this entire process without them. They are very loving, caring, and so supportive individuals.  I won’t name names, but all you Hamiltonians know who you are.  Letting me text you, spending nights out on the town, discussing life and how messy it can be.  Every single one of you has blessed me in many ways.  I wouldn’t be in this peaceful, settled place without all of you. Thank you!  Thank you for your generosity, kindness and especially your friendship. God blesses me each and every day and I don’t take it for granted.

The boys and I, although it is separate parts of town, have officially been rehomed!

Luv, luv,

Julie 💙