Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Longest Year of My Life

A year ago today we had our moving van stolen. If you want to read more about the grotesque details of that fiasco click here. [In a nutshell someone stole our van, stole most of the stuff of "value" and then dumped it in a river so the stuff we value (like journals and pictures and even a few household items) were effectively ruined by the dirty river]. Needless to say there will always be a dark cloud over Indianapolis in my mind.

I'm not going to lie, it's been the longest and hardest year of my life. And I'm not one of those people whose going to say that "I wouldn't trade this experience for anything" because, yep, actually I would. But since I'm not allowed to trade experiences in life (boy wouldn't that be cool), here's a list of things we've learned since then.

  1. When something bad happens to someone the best advice is not always "You'll laugh about this later"...though sometimes this is good advice
  2. Compassion. I have oodles and oodles of compassion for others that I didn't have before. When someone's house burns down it hurts my heart in a way it didn't before. When someone I know has something stolen I can actually say "I know how you feel" and mean it
  3. When something tragic happens and you feel like you should do something, just do it. I can't tell you how much I appreciated all those people who juts jumped into action. Some people said "let us know if there's anything we can do" and others just did stuff (like mail us gift cards, or household items, or be amazing like my coworkers at Drive Marketing and organize a shipment of our friend and families' household items, or sending us cash, or calling and saying "I'm sorry." Now when something happens to someone I know my instinct will be to just do something -- like show up at their house ready to work or send them something or offer to take their kids off their hands for a few hours.
  4. Bad things happen to good people
  5. When bad things happen it is important to fight the tendency to think "why didn't we..." because although becoming a victim may make you feel like you "should have done something differently" to prevent it, in all actuality it's the person who did this to you who "should have" done something differently
  6. It's okay to be mad sometimes
  7. It's not okay to stay mad too long -- it just hurts you and not anyone else
  8. Sometimes its best to not try to make sense out of the madness of life; often it doesn't make sense.
  9. Some things are just not subject to an overnight fix. Patience is required. Things do get better even if it takes a long long time.
  10. When moving across the country, do not use a moving van. (In case you are wondering what we would recommend, check out this post)

And in case I didn't already thank them enough, a really huge THANK YOU to the following people who helped us so much this past year:
  • My coworkers who sent us so much stuff
  • My boss at Drive Marketing who sent us a huge check
  • People from church that knew my parents but may or may not have known me and send us cash and gift cards anyway
  • The faculty at OSU who collected money and gave it to Joe and I, without which, I don't know how we could have made it
  • My Aunt Lauri & Uncle Jim who sent us cash and a bunch of things from around their house (thank for thinking of the little things like toothpaste, lotion, and shampoo)
  • Ariel and Dave: I'd never met Dave and I hadn't seen Ariel in years, but they let us use their washer and dryer, they lent us some things, and they helped us start making friends
  • The Beazers. For inviting me over to dinner constantly during the weeks after the moving van when Joe was in Utah. I was seriously so lonely. They helped me keep my sanity and eat better food.
  • My mom. Who flew out to Ohio to help me unpack all the stuff sent by my coworkers at Drive and let me cry about how my life was so hard
  • Our families in general
  • My fellow students at school who put up with my complaining and helped me do better in school than I expected.
  • Friends who have send me scans of their pictures from high school and college, it means a lot.
  • Anyone else who helped in any way, the whole time is honestly a blur

So here we are now, a year later. Things are slowly getting better. I am slowly collecting pictures from friends and family to replace those we lost and I'm slowly accepting that there are some things I will only have a memory of. Financially things are getting better and that is a huge relief. We made good friends in Ohio, I learned so much in my 2 quarters of grad school, and Joe learned a gained a lot of perspective about his business. So after much learning, we are back in Utah, which is a surprise but feels really right. Joe and I are building our careers, which is fun. And we look forward to a day when all of this will be a distant memory.

I'm so grateful for how close it's brought Joe and I. For how it's taught me to deal with anger and disappointment. and for how it's given me greater compassion for those around me.

Oh what a year it's been....here's to my hope that next year is a million times better.

4 little remarks:

Ali said...

That is REALLY great advice Anna. I love hearing advice from people that have really experienced the core of something cause hopefully it can make me a better reactor to things and a better person in general. I really love the advice of just doing something and not just saying -"let us know if there's anything we can do"...I do that, but in reality, noone is going to want to call and ask for favors. It's true. Thanks for that thoughtful post.

Steve Weller said...

Wow, Anna. I had no idea that had happened. It's one of those things that you hear about but think, "oh, that'll never happen to me." But to get through something like that and still keep a smile on your face reminds me that it's what we are, not what we have that makes us what we are. You guys are strong and you will make it far together!

The Wolford Pack (Jen) said...

I really enjoyed reading the things you've learned! I know it may seem harsh to say I enjoyed reading about your tragedy. Really it helped put life into perspective. Mike and I went through a really hard two years about two years ago and it's always good to reflect on the things you've learned from hard times.

The Wolford Pack (Jen) said...

I really enjoyed reading the things you've learned! I know it may seem harsh to say I enjoyed reading about your tragedy. Really it helped put life into perspective. Mike and I went through a really hard two years about two years ago and it's always good to reflect on the things you've learned from hard times.

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