So this is community
"Are you going to be ok?" she asked. I stopped, am I going to be ok?
No one has asked me that. I have been asked countless times 'are you ok?' To which I have been answering yes, I'm putting one foot in front of the other, I would say all considered, I'm ok.
But, will I be ok? A much bigger question.
Getting my attention she asked it again, "are you going to be ok, or do you need a hand?"
The sweet lady at Tim Hortons was referring to me carrying out the large coffee containers I was getting.
I did my best to smile and said I've got it.
I could handle the coffees on my own, but the rest of my life I have co-created with my man. We took on a life built for two, requiring nurturing from me and him. So when half of the whole vanishes what's left are huge holes. Where his love, talent, and time would have been.
That's where our communities have stepped in. I was getting coffee that morning for the 20+ guys that came to my house to finish our front yard. Rene and I had made a self-imposed time line to have all our renovations complete by September 1st so as to give us freedom to relax the days leading up to the wedding. We were so close, with the front yard being the very last piece of a three year home renovation project.
I have become acutely aware of how much I trusted Rene and I want to follow through on his work, being that he was such a perfectionist I felt overwhelmed by my lack of trust in others abilities. But time and time again I have been shown that others understand the importance of finishing what he started as he would have.
I have been gifted with many amazing people throughout this and I have some huge thank-yous to share.
Don Burnett, Rene and Don were friends and we had had Don over to help create the vision for the front yard but that vision was in Rene's mind and I had no idea.
So I called, 'Don it's Chelsea...'
"Chelsea, I am so happy to hear from you, how can I help?"
Don came over, flushed out the plan, every detail was accounted for. He made sure we had everything we would need for Saturday’s big work day.
He told me to go to DogWood Nurseries for all the plants. Giving me a list, my sister and I went to get them.
Shitty was the realization that Rene wouldn't ever see it, terrible was the understanding that finally we would have completed the renovations and we would not be enjoying it together. I felt waves of nausea. But reminded myself that worse would be to be left with a dug up front yard and no one to help, or hiring strangers that didn't know him or really care.
Gunther and the team at Dogwood Nurseries took my list and got everything for me, loaded it up and recognizing who I was they went above and beyond, they were very kind to me. Their generosity so heartfelt, I had never met them before but they treated me like family.
So Saturday morning at 8:00 am men started to arrive at my place with the intention to complete Rene's project. By 9:00 am my yard was buzzing with hard working men. Most of them members of the Jaycees. Here on their own free will, giving their Saturday to this project, with smiles on their faces; they worked hard all day.
Reg and Scott from Kelly O'Bryan's brought beer, food, and moral support. Don came back to oversee the project and of course the Synlawn family was here.
The Synlawn crew, well what can I say. There really aren’t words. This project had been in the works for the summer, they would work on our yard whenever they could sneak it in. They meet at our house every workday and finish at our house each evening. Rene loved his team, he treated those boys like friends, like family, he really cared about the team.
In the end the yard looks amazing, their work spectacular. The pain in my heart that he won’t see it stings. The last of all our projects complete I sat in the yard with a heavy heart. This was supposed to be a very good day for us, the final project of a three year entire home renovation, and instead, despite the amazing work day, this day tears me up. I remind myself that our communities care and while I feel desperately alone, I am really not alone.
While no one will ever be Rene, a piece of him is in all of us that knew him, and when we all come together we get a glimpse of him.
Thank you to everyone who had a hand in making Saturday what it was. Your care and support really does matter.