In addition to all of the family stuff that happened last month, one of my best friends and mentors at work retired after 25 years. She taught me everything I know about proofreading and magazine production work, and it was hard to see her leave. Today we had a luncheon for her, and it was so much fun to visit with her and others who used to work at the magazine, including 2 long-retired former bosses whom I greatly admire.
One of the benefits of working for the same company is the feeling of shared history with coworkers. Most of us have children the same age, and when they were growing up we would get together for lunch and share stories and child raising techniques. It was truly a case of "it takes a village to raise a child." My children used to say they had 10 other mothers and fathers who were interested in them and their well-being.
I started working at the LDS Church magazines as the typist (though it worked into being a typesetter/production job) when I had 3 very young children and was in a deeply troubled marriage. My family lived in another state, and my coworkers became a surrogate family. They helped me through the bad marriage, divorce, single parenthood, remarriage, broken and blended family issues to numerous to mention, missions, marriages, babies, military deployments, David's illnesses, and my schooling. I cannot imagine how I would have survived without their loving support and many kindnesses. They are truly Christlike people, and great examples to follow.
We have been blessed to live in wards with friends and neighbors who lend helping hands when they are needed. They are fine examples of people who live their religion.
Our extended family of parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins have also been a great support and are all that anyone could ask for in a family. They understand that families are meant to work and play together and to give each other support and encouragement in good times and bad.
Support groups on the web have also been very helpful, especially one for military parents. They have been a godsend when my boys have been deployed. It's so nice to find others across the country who are having similar experiences, and to learn and grow from each other. I also appreciate the sites that I have found that discuss mental illness and all of its issues.
I feel truly blessed by all these and others who have enriched my life. I have never really felt alone, even in the midst of the trials that come with life.