So the past few weeks of Specialist Orientation has been like taking a sip from a fire hose. TONS of information, briefings, handouts, homework assignments, online courses and quizzes, group projects, off-sites, etc. Needless to say, I’ve been keeping very busy, but I’ve been happy and I’m still feeling lucky to be here.
This weekend is when that situation changed. One of the biggest things that haunted me about taking this job was the possibility of what would happen when tragedy would strike back home, and unfortunately that has already come to pass. A very sweet, kind, funny and very good man passed away this morning: my uncle. For my family’s privacy I won’t get into the details here, but it was unexpected, and happened far too quickly and far too soon. He was a really good man, an incredibly hard worker, the kind of guy who would always make sure he was the last to eat a holidays (and there were a LOT of us) and would always spearhead the effort to begin cleanup after. I always thought the Cains were a big family, but he was one of 16 kids….16 KIDS!!! He welcomed guests into his house frequently, always willing to sit down and share laughs with family and friends. He was a great husband, father, grandfather, and friend to all who knew him. We will all miss him so much.
So this is rough, I find myself 700 miles away and its just not possible for me to leave and go back for the service…it breaks my heart. I know my family understands, they know I’d be there if I could, but I wish I could be there for my big wonderful family to help them through this tough time. My orientation coordinators and classmates have been very supportive, and let me vent and blow off some steam this morning when I got the news on the way in to work.
So, if that wasn’t enough to occupy my thoughts, tomorrow is my flag day. Tomorrow afternoon I will receive the flag of my future post in front of my classmates (and happily my mom and brother are here as well.) What was initially going to be a very happy (hopefully?) moment has now been dimmed a bit. It doesn’t seem quite right to be celebrating and anxiously awaiting big news while the people I love are struggling to deal with such a loss.
To my family back home, know that my thoughts and prayers are with you across the miles, and my heart is with you back in Illinois. Not much more to say than that, just know that I love you all, and I’m there in spirit.