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Reflections on Six Months: A Journey of Healing and Gratitude

The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not 'get over' the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal, and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again, but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to. - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Tomorrow marks six months since Teri's passing. I am thankful that quotes like these help me feel understood and not alone. I don't really expect anything magical to happen to me after six months, or probably even a year. I am still a bit overwhelmed with more sad than happy emotions and have been struggling more and more with expressing how I am feeling with people in person. I also feel busy again, not sure if that's a good thing? I am learning to be OK with not always being understood. In the end, I am very grateful and know that a lot of people really care about me. Where do I start? Well this past week, I've managed to:

  • Buy my first plant (obviously from Costco)

  • Bring down Teri's Halloween decorations from the garage attic

  • Finish a sprint triathlon (first race since Teri's passing)

Buying my first plant

If you are pressed for time since its time to sleep, totally cool if you skip this section :) I found this whole experience recently regarding plants and flowers really interesting to me. It also makes me feel more connected to Teri. A week ago, I saw this beautiful plant Costco and it seemed like a great deal (like most things at Costco):

Looks like a nice plant!

I really liked the plant. Probably since it reminded me of plants that Teri purchased for us that were given away or have died. I didn't buy it. since I actually don't trust myself with most house stuff. When Teri moved in after we got married, Teri changed pretty much everything I owned around the house. Thankfully she didn't have a strong opinion on everything I kept in the garage. Guess who made 100% of the decisions regarding buying plants in my marriage? So instead of buying the plant at Costco, I went home and thought about it and waited for some friends to get back to me on their opinion. A few days later, they were all gone! Lesson learned, stop over thinking things especially if you are at Costco. It's just a plant.

Oh yea another sort of funny story, the tree we used at our wedding ended up dying shortly after the wedding, so we managed to return it and got a Pachira Aquatica, aka "money tree." Since that same tree is still doing well and they were selling them at Costco instead of the plant I wanted, I ended up getting another one (far right picture).

Before I met Teri, I never had any plants or pets. The primary reason for this was my belief that I simply didn't have the time to care for them. Unfortunately, the plants around my house are gradually wilting, and this saddens me since Teri bought them all. However, I am fortunate to have friends who come over and lend a hand by watering them and offering advice, like where to place them for optimal sunlight. Some even offered to assist with their care.

What's also interesting is that I often find myself lingering in the flowers section at Costco. Teri loved flowers and had so many flower dresses. I wish I bought her more flowers on occasion since she deserved them. I've transitioned from thinking that buying flowers was a waste of money to considering them for myself, especially when they are on sale. Moreover, having fresh flowers at home encourages me to have more guests over, as they tend to notice and appreciate them.

In any case, I am truly grateful for my beautiful house, a credit to Teri's decorating skills. I plan to maintain everything as it is, including the unique tree thumb picture that was a significant project for Teri:

Looking ahead, I anticipate adding my personal decorations to the mix from time to time.

Holiday Season is Starting

The standout moment for me this past week happened when I returned home from work and saw my neighbors putting up a small Halloween decoration in front of their house. It instantly filled me with a sense of loneliness and discouragement, serving as a reminder that the holiday season is upon us. I couldn't help but wonder how different this year's holidays would be without Teri.

Here's a charming picture of her testing out Halloween decorations that I plan to set up in my front yard after completing this post:

During Halloween, Teri and I would always seek out opportunities to be elsewhere rather than stay at home. Sometimes, we'd go trick-or-treating with our friends' kids, and on other occasions, we found ourselves in Atlanta. Last year, Woodbridge held a coloring contest that piqued my interest. Here's a video of Teri providing feedback on my entry:

This video captures our typical interactions. She might have seemed a bit annoyed (as you can probably tell) when I started recording, but she didn't change her responses much. Sometimes, she offered profound wisdom that I plan to share in future posts.

Regarding the holidays, many people have asked about my plans and have generously offered to host me for Thanksgiving or Christmas. I'm genuinely thankful for these offers. However, I'm hesitant to make any commitments, perhaps because the holidays are still a ways off, and this was an area where Teri took immense pride in managing for both of us. I appreciate everyone's patience during this time.

I'm certain I'll write more about the holidays in the near future. What I really want to express is that I still miss Teri deeply, and I wish we could have celebrated this year's holiday season together. I miss the lively debates about her tendency to purchase random items from Home Goods or Amazon, and the subsequent tasks of putting everything up and then taking it all down. My hope is that none of you take these moments for granted this year with our loved ones.

Team Terwin Sprint Triathlon

Today, I had the opportunity to participate in a "Super Sprint" Triathlon in San Dimas alongside my friend Praise. This journey was one we embarked upon together a few months ago when her family visited me. Praise sought motivation to rekindle her exercise routine and proactively signed up for the race, even before I did. I'm incredibly grateful for her initiative, as I may not have participated if she hadn't taken the lead.

This race holds a significant place in my heart because exactly six months ago, on April 1, many of us were rallying around Teri in the hospital instead of cheering me on at the Oceanside 70.3 race I had signed up for. The day at the hospital that I still think about, almost every day.

Before sharing about the race itself, I'd like to share my experiences in the week leading up to it. Even though I've done over 100 races, I put myself through unnecessary stress during race week, which included:

  • Anxious thoughts

  • Overanalyzing everything, from my previous training logs to my equipment, and even last-minute adjustments

  • Last-minute training sessions, as if they could make a significant difference

  • Last-minute dieting, convinced that every pound counted

  • A lack of adequate sleep

These moments of anxiety brought back memories of Teri's support for my racing endeavors. She always encouraged me but also cautioned against becoming overly fixated on training and preparation, especially if it came at the expense of more important priorities.

During the race, my mind wandered back to six months ago when we faced the heart-wrenching decision to transition Teri into hospice care. Her heart was racing at 130-155 beats per minute for several days straight, a heart rate similar to what I typically average during a half-ironman triathlon. Her body was fighting hard, and it was a source of concern for me. Despite the physical struggle, her spirit remained unwaveringly positive.

The swim and bike portions of the race posed fewer mental challenges for me. It was the 5K run that weighed heaviest on my mind since I haven't even ran a 5K in training in a long time. As I started running, I kept reminding myself of Praise's words before the race, "This is for Teri." This provided motivation to keep going, especially during stretches when there were no other participants nearby. It was a small-scale event, but Teri's memory served as an inspiration, giving me more enthusiasm for future training and races.

Although my race results didn't meet my expectations, particularly in comparison to similar events I participated in back in 2018, I'm grateful that I successfully crossed the finish line without major setbacks or the dreaded "meltdown" on the run, my usual pitfall for underprepared racers like myself.

Above all, I am deeply thankful for the incredible support from friends who came out to watch me. My community has treated me with far more kindness than I believe I deserve. Recognizing that early morning endurance events aren't most people's favorite, I usually refrain from extending invitations, as I dislike burdening others. However, it warmed my heart to see Larry and a few members of my small group attend the race of their own volition:

And yes, that's Mayo in the photo. Bringing him along was a last-minute, rather impulsive decision, driven by his cuteness when I went back into the house this morning to get something I left on the dinner table. Additionally, I had a secret hope of achieving a podium finish, with Mayo adding a delightful touch. Perhaps next year. Thanks as usual for reading and sharing your comments and stories. Good night everyone, hope everyone has a great week! - Erwin

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7 commentaires

Jenny Scott
Jenny Scott
07 oct. 2023

Grieving with Hope. Loved this, Erwin. I loved hearing your heart for plants, flowers and pets. I love that you are taking the time to tend to things in your house that you wouldn’t have cared for before. I love that you bought yourself flowers and a tree. How sweet. Those are signs of growth, beauty, tenderness, care for God’s creation and Hope. I love that. I love the video of Teri🩷I love her voice and miss it. I love how she smiled and said your name for the coloring photo. I can’t believe she took the time to appreciate all of your coloring details! She is so awesome! I love how she said, “typical Erwin” with “the bacon grease…


03 oct. 2023

Great read, Erwin. Thank you for guilting me to start reading your blog! 😂. I am totally joking. What a way to honor Teri in sharing memories of her. The video is hilarious. “Bacon fat” !!

I pray for you to be comforted by our Lord through the lonely and sad moments. We love you.


Emilyn Edillon
Emilyn Edillon
02 oct. 2023

I'm happy that Teri influenced you to get a plant. It's good for your health and sometimes interesting to learn about things outside of your normal hobbies. Many people love plants and you can probably have some nice conversations about it since not everyone is a triathlete lol.

Thanks for sharing the video about Teri and her critique. It reminded me that one thing Daniel and I really admire about Teri is the genuine effort she always takes to reply to someone's question no matter how important (or not important) it was. I did not notice the green on top of the pumpkin or the inner corners or the eyes so I'm impressed at her level of detail and the…


Foley Ma
Foley Ma
02 oct. 2023

We have a similar money tree which I think was also purchase from Costco at our house!

Thanks for sharing the video - she didn't sound too annoyed :)


Hi Erwin! It’s been a while since we caught up and was nice to read about how you’ve been and how you’re feeling. I especially enjoyed all the pictures and video you included and look forward to seeing more. Will be praying that God will continue to give you strength each day.

Erwin Edillon
Erwin Edillon
02 oct. 2023
En réponse à

Hi Florence! nice to hear from you! Miss all of you at FCBCW, I am overdue for another visit. Thank you for your prayers.

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