As the title says – where to begin? So much has happened since my last post. It was never my intention to wait almost 10 months to post again. But sometimes life happens in ways so unexpected, so life-altering, so …………. I’m out of words.
I’ve shared before that we returned to Indiana in August 2020 in order to help our family deal with a medical emergency. We were there three months. When we left, things looked not only promising, but very good. We all breathed sighs of relief and began to return to some sense of normalcy. Brenda and I returned to Costa Rica, and our family member continued to recover, and the family proceeded to move on with life.
At the end of January 2021, we got a call that the cancer had returned, and with a vengeance. Thus began another intense series of treatments, surgeries, travel, and alternating states of fear and hope. In the end, our beloved son-in-law, Eric, 42, transitioned into Glory on June 10. Our hearts have been broken. Our five young grandchildren no longer have their father with them, and our daughter is adjusting to life as a single parent, along with navigating her own grief as well as five young kids’ grief.
We are all moving forward. Some days it is slowly. Some days we seem to leap forward with surprising hope and joy. Eric will always be with us, if not physically, in our hearts, minds, and memories. It is now time for us to forge a life without him. We don’t want to, but neither do we want to live in sadness and grief forever. So, we make plans, we support one another, and we look with trust into the eyes and heart of our Creator for strength and sustenance.
We are blessed to have a new member of our family scheduled to arrive in October. And, this is where it gets exciting. Our son and his wife are expecting their first child, and they have chosen to give birth to this little girl here in Costa Rica, where we raised our children. Our entire family is thrilled with this decision. So, in a few weeks, our son and his wife will arrive, move into the condo down the hall, and excitedly wait for the baby to arrive. Our daughter and the five children will arrive in mid-September for five weeks. We will all be together when this new little life joins us, as a new daughter, niece, granddaughter, and cousin becomes part of our tribe. Her birth will be another step as our joint healing continues and thrives. Our daughter-in-law is originally from Beijing, China, so we will have the added pleasure of welcoming her mother, direct from China, in mid-September. We can’t wait to all be together, to play in the ocean, to take long walks in the Costa Rican beauty, to enjoy laughter around the table, to play in the pool, to binge on gallo pinto, and. . . . . to hold the baby! (To learn more about gallo pinto, click here: https://costa-rica-guide.com/travel/food/gallo-pinto-recipe-costa-rica/
What does all of this have to do with being a part-time expat? I’m not sure, but it is part of our expat life. We are so grateful that we have been able to be available to our daughter and her family this past year. To be able to walk with them on this journey has been our supreme honor, and to help care for and usher Eric into his new life in heaven, has been both excruciating and a privilege at the same time, truly one of life’s paradoxes. We have a new respect for life, a new regard for how precious it is. We have seen how very important it is to reach out to those who are hurting and grieving, and we’ve resolved to be more aware and cognizant of how we can be of help to others who are suffering.
Our own faith has been stretched. There are so many questions about why life has taken this turn for our family, yet so many evidences of God’s care, provision, and comfort in the midst of it all. Perhaps we will never have the answers to our questions until we transition ourselves, but we have seen enough of His goodness to know that all is not lost.
Hope will define our future, and trust will tether us to His hand of mercy.
The community of Jaco has been amazingly supportive of our family, even from the long distance between here and Indiana. The incredible people at Horizon Church in Jaco have supported with prayers, thoughts, messages, gifts, and continual love for our family. We are deeply grateful for their friendship, and for being the community of faith they are to us and our family. Thank you, friends. (www.horizonjaco.org)
I plan to continue to tell the story of our expat life, especially now that we have the mountain cabin in Turrialba. I’ll be sharing about what’s happening there in the near future. We love going back and forth between the beach and the mountains. I hope to introduce you to the wonderful culture and people of that beautiful area in Cartago province.
And, I plan to continue to encourage you to consider a life of part-time or full-time expat living. But for today, I needed to bring you up to date so that we can venture ahead together with understanding and authenticity.
Thank you for joining me today.
Until next time,
This is Paul, a Part-Time Expat
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