Well, our vacation in Florida is almost over.  We couldn’t have asked for better weather.  It has been so warm and sunny.  We have gone to the beach and the pool every day.  We are total beach bums!!  Sunday….. what an emotional day.  I wasn’t really expecting that.  I hit the beach with the kids expecting to have so much fun.  The kids kept remembering all the cool things their dad did with them on the beach, and I sat and cried on the beach thinking how much I missed having my husband sitting with me. We all love beach vacations SO much.  Justin even said how much his dad would have loved this vacation.  And yes, Stef would have loved it- especially in January.  Every time, Stef and the kids would create a large sand snake.  I know it sounds kind of silly, but they LOVED it.  And they missed building that this time.  But none of us really felt we should build it, so we left that out of the vacation.  I also realized how much Stef did with the kids on our vacations.  I was so spoiled.  He loved to play in the sand, jump waves, and splash around in the pool with them.  Well, guess who got to do that this time?  Yep, that would be me, the girl who really only likes to sit and soak up the rays.

This trip has been so revealing, but hopefully healing as well.  Carley cries often for her daddy.  She misses him so much–as we all do.  Justin said he wished we could go back in time before his dad died.  I looked at him and said, “So do I J, so do I.”   Derek asked me if I still got to use Tarapchak for my last name since I wasn’t  married anymore.  Well, maybe technically I’m not, but I like to think I still am.  So, that’s what I told him.  Oh, how we miss that amazing guy.  He drove our family and helped shape us so much.  Right now, we are missing an arm and trying to figure out how to manage.

This trip has really made me stretch.  I had to do this all on my own.  Navigating an airport, renting a car, and finding our destination with three kids (& my 3 year old was so incredibly whiny and a screaming diva most of the trip) was no easy task, but we did it!  We all feel really proud of ourselves.  Sunday, we wondered if we had done the right thing by coming on vacation.  And here we are almost at the end, and we survived.  So, if anything, it taught us to pull together as a foursome.  Things won’t always be easy for us, and we have lots of sad times to come, I’m sure, but we learned we have to stick together to make this work.

Thanks to all of you who heard about our rought Sunday and offered help.  I think I had enough offers of help to fill up the condo building.  Wow, I am constantly reminded of my amazing circle of support.  You guys are the best.  Thanks for all the emails, texts, and calls to encourage us and keep us moving forward.  We made it!!


20 Responses

  1. thinking of you and praying…

    Liza’s Eyeview

  2. You’ve already accomplished so much with your willingness to take this trip and just simply being strong for your children. Being honest with them in your answers. And also jumping in the pool and splashing in the waves with them. I know, ten years down the road, those kids are going to be telling these stories of how amazing their Mom was and is.

    We are grateful for your posts and continue to pray for you and the kids.
    Janet Megilligan

  3. Sandi,
    Your post brought tears to my eyes. You are an amazing woman! Your 3 children are so incredibly blessed to have you for their mom. We’re praying for the 4 of you daily.
    The Nelsons

  4. Hey Sandi,

    You are doing so awesome. You are right, going on a huge trip, on your own with all the kids IS an accomplishment and something to feel proud of. I can’t remember if I emailed this or left it as a comment, but I did the same thing after my wife died, packed up all the kids and headed to Virginia Beach from Dallas and somehow did it without a mom around. I look back and still have no clue how.

    Pace yourself, keep up the great work, and remember to rest in Him.


  5. Sandi & kids,

    We love you and have been thinking of you & praying for you for so long.

    We would have been in Hilliard had we been at home.

    Merlin & Ruth

  6. Sandi,
    I think of you and the kids so often. One day at a time. Smile when you feel like it, cry when you want to, yell when you need to and always remember the many many great times!!

  7. Sandi!
    You are AWESOME. I know you would NEVER choose this road, but you can do it with God’s wonderful grace and you ARE doing it each second, minute you step forward in faith to continue.
    I will be praying and praying!
    Love to you and your sweet kiddos!

  8. Sandi,
    I want you to know I am thinking of you and praying for you. I was telling a lady at church how you had gone on vacation and she said she wished her mother could have done that. She thinks her Mom would have benefited from just getting away.
    I am sure it was hard but you had God on your side and I am sure that during the week you prayed for His strength. It is not that you won’t miss Stefan because you will but remember you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.


  9. Thanks for continuing to share the good and the bad. It helps us all to relate, remember and to grieve a little with you. It’s great to remember what a fantastic guy Stef was and continues to inspire me as a dad, as he is someone I’ve always looked up to as a mentor. Appreciate you and your sharing.


  10. Dear Sandi,

    I am so proud of you. 🙂 Your post made me smile and cry. I’m praying earnestly for each of you as you heal.

    You know, it looks like the Lord through Stef, passed this blog on to you. Stef was going to discuss family and was inspired by the information you had given him. I am so glad you are sharing your family with us. You are going to inspire and help so many. 🙂 Thanks for helping us know how to pray, hurt, and heal with you.

    Your sister in Christ,

  11. Makes me cry just reading it. We’re so proud of how you are handling things. When you get back, please don’t be afraid to ask for help. None of us could ever replace Stef, but we’re all willing to do anything to help out! We leave Monday for Boston for Tyler’s surgery, but hope to be back quickly. Tyler will miss his surgery buddy this time! Glad you had a great trip.

    The Zusts

  12. Sandi,

    Good for you!!! I was so glad to hear you took the trip. I am working on all my memories of Stef when we were in elementary and high school and I will give you everything I can remember, he was a great guy even way back then.

    I will see Chad Stoner tomorrow and we’ll enjoy remembering what a fun guy Stef was. I think you are doing an amazing job with the kids and I pray for all of you often.

  13. Sandi,
    You continue to amaze me. I have no doubt that the trip was the right thing. Stef would be so proud of all 4 of you.

  14. What a great way for your family to spend this much needed break. You were very brave to do it, and very wise. We pray that the coming weeks go smoothly for you, as you learn to play a double role in your kids’ lives. They are very lucky to have a mom who has been so strong. There will be days, no doubt, where you don’t feel so strong, but you have such support around you and a good God who will get you through. Know that there are people everywhere thinking and praying for you guys!

    Paul & Jackie Wetzel

  15. Sandy, we have never met but my husband and I are members of North West and have had your family on our prayer list. I have a friend in a similar situation as what you have been experiencing and I was hoping to get some information for them about the oncologist that treated Steph. Would you mind emailing me at terribyers at earthlink dot net? Thank you and we continue to pray for you and your children.

  16. Sandy, sounds like all emotions in one trip. Please hang in there and remember all those who are willing to help out at any time. We are certainly there for you. We pray for you and the kids every night.
    Like one said before…rest in Him.

    Darrin and Wendy

  17. Sandi:

    My wife and I had predetermined flights scheduled and could not make it to the funeral. Nevertheless, you remain in our thoughts and prayers.

    We continue to remember the four of you daily.

  18. Wow, you are amazing! I can’t begin to imagine the emotions you felt on your trip…

    Your kids are so lucky to have you as a mom…their lives have been filled with such great role models and you are continuing this on.

    You and the kids are constantly in my prayers.

  19. As you begin to create new memories and routines, know that Stef and you have impacted lives in ways you may never know. I continue to pray for you all.

  20. Sandy,
    You got us all in tears.
    You are so brave. I don’t think I could have gone away like that but I do think you did the right thing. He would have wanted that especially for the kids.
    Diane Exterovich

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