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Two Month Milestone | Grieving Goals | Teri's GAP Post Part 1

"Even though I do feel those regrets, I wouldn't want to change anything. I wouldn't want to go back. I feel the choices I've made helped me out. They were mistakes I have made in the past but I'm learning from them. I can reflect on those regrets I have and try to live my life so I wouldn't make those mistakes again" Tram "Teri" Hoang, written at 18 years old. My Memory Book 📖

Good morning everyone,

Today marks another milestone that is worth sharing: it has been two months since Teri passed away. I am still overwhelmed by everything that has happened since that fateful day in the hospital. When I shared our story with Teri's former small group on Wednesday, it reminded me of how much I miss her and how blessed I was to be her husband. I wish we had more time with here on this earth. Until we meet again.

I love the idea of "30-60-90" day plans for transitional periods even though I rarely follow them. As I enter the "60-90" period since her passing, the topic of life goals has come up. Besides eating less 🍕🍕, the only goal that comes to mind is "making the most of this time of grieving." Teri's quote above really speaks to me and has been encouraged me to not have regrets during this new season. On a more tangible note, this means:

  1. My Relationship with God: Rediscovering my faith in Jesus and clinging to His promises during this time of grieving. Spending time reading the Bible, praying for clarity regarding my future, and trusting Him that I can focus on one day at a time.

  2. My Relationship with Teri: Scheduling 1-2 nights a week to be alone, allowing me to re-read her journals and email exchanges. This has continued to humble me. There was so much about her that I misunderstood while we were together, and it has significantly changed my heart and view of relationships, as well as my own struggles in marriage.

  3. My Relationship with Others : Life is short. Spending time with the people who matter most to me has brought me so much joy. I am incredibly thankful for reconnecting with a few people whom I haven't spent quality time with in a while, along with new friends I've met recently. I feel loved in ways I don't deserve because of their empathy and presence. It's as if I'm the most important person in the world to them while we are together. This also means letting go of old relationships to make room for new ones.

  4. Building new habits and routines: I love having recurring meetings with myself (quiet times with Mayo at the park, exercising, etc.) and with others. Instead of participating in the Rock and Roll Half Marathon SD (the first time I'm not doing this race since 2014), I am going to the Mariner's "Man Camp" in a few hours for the first time This will put me out of my comfort zone, as I am a strong introvert who usually avoids large groups.

  5. Letting go of what others think of me: Being the middle child, I grew up as a people pleaser, constantly striving for acceptance from everyone around me. This resulted in being overcommitted and cycles of burn out. I have received a lot of strong opinions on what to do and not to do during this season. Trying to make everyone happy or like me during this season is one sure way to have regrets.

That's it for today. More important than my words are Teri's own. I'll leave you with a blog post she wrote on March 6 that has been sitting as a draft, which I have been meaning to share, along with a link to our Israel trip video that is always brings tears of joy when I watch. I hope reading this post and watching our video will inspire you to book your own trip🛩 or triathlon 🏊🚴‍♀️🏃!


Gap post — what's happened from 2018 until 2023?

Teri Edillon, written on March 6, 2023

I stopped posting updates after April 2018, one month following my last round of chemo. And, all of the sudden, we're back! So, I wanted to take a moment and fill in the gap.

For the first three years after chemotherapy treatments ended (approximately 2018 - 2020), I saw my oncologist in Atlanta every 3 months for a physical exam and CT scan. Each appointment was, for the most part, uneventful which was great news. I was recovering well and no signs of recurrence. I spent the remainder of 2018 and most of 2019 focusing on wedding planning and recovery.

On September 8, 2019, Erwin and I got married in Diamond Bar, California. And soon after, I moved from Atlanta to SoCal. I started to work from home, and Erwin and I started working towards and praying for community in California for me and for us.

However, in early 2020, the world shut down due to the global pandemic so this put a halt to our plans. We found it challenging being newly married and locked down. This really started to affect our mental health. We both had to learn how to navigate this new way of living, like so many others. During this time, I transitioned my cancer care from Atlanta to Irvine (once I hit the 3 year mark). We found an oncologist at UCI Health that I saw for follow ups every 6 months. Physical exams revealed nothing unusual. My last physical exam at UCI Health was in November of 2022.

In fall of 2021, once the world started to open back up. Erwin and I found a church home in the form of a church plant at Mariner's Church, North Irvine. We started serving at church—Erwin on the production team and Teri in kid's ministry. We grew so much from this experience and it was a blessing to be a part of a group of volunteers so passionate about serving God's people. We also got introduced to a married life group. Finally! We got what we have been praying for, community!

In 2022, I started a bible 365 plan with the BibleProject. For those unfamiliar, this is a reading plan that would allow you to complete the entire bible in a year (by reading approximately 4 chapters a day). The journey through the bible with the help of the many overview videos and podcasts and teachings of Tim Mackie has helped me to understand more deeply the God of the universe, His story and mission in the world, and my part in it. It has also ignited in me a desire to share with others the gift He has given us.

In late 2022, I was invited to join a woman's life group at church and also to facilitate a discipleship group of women. What a gift! I also got to travel to Seoul, South Korea and indulge my love of K-pop with a group of amazing women including my sister-in-law. I also signed up for Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). When I look back on the last few years, I can see how God has been working in my life to surround me with faithful people to help encourage me in my walk and also how He has changed my heart to one trusting in Him and seeking Him in all things. I've seen the wonderful things He has done in my life through my first journey with cancer and so I trust that He will do the same again!

Inspired by my bible reading, when Erwin found out that our old church, Eastside Christian Church in Anaheim, was doing a Holy Land Tour in 2023, he told me about it and encouraged us to go. So, we signed up for the trip! Which would take place in February 2023.

So, I think this helps fill in the gap. I will create another post to document how I learned that the cancer has returned.

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