Navigating Separation: A Journey of Togetherness and Hope

I remember the days when our children were small, exploring the expanse of our land under the watchful eyes of their mother while I was often away at work—perhaps too much. They were lucky, those days filled with Jennifer’s presence, never knowing the sting of separation anxiety. Jennifer, our pillar, not only homeschooled them in their early years but remained their steadfast supporter in all their educational pursuits.

Back then, the separation anxiety we did experience stemmed from my return to work after family dinners, night after night, year after year. Any squabbles between Jennifer and I often traced back to this. My drive to succeed in business wasn’t just about ambition; it was about being a provider for my growing family.

As our family expanded to four children, welcoming my first daughter was a sign that our family was complete. Large by today’s standards, perhaps, but for us, it was perfect.

With growth came the inevitable separations: summer camps, trips, and various programs. The initial parting was always hard on the kids, but truthfully, it was probably tougher on us. As the adage goes, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” a sentiment I could never quite believe until I saw less of them, and those pangs of separation sharpened.

Now, we face new kinds of separation anxiety. Geographically, with Jennifer and Lauren in Colorado, Brooks with me, Brody at home, and Bryce nearby, our family feels fragmented. I understand it’s what’s best for Lauren, yet every unexpected phone call sends my heart racing, hoping it’s a FaceTime from my wife and daughter.

Missing them is a different kind of ache, one that challenges my role as a provider when Lauren needs us most and receives only one of us at a time. Jennifer is extraordinary, truly the right person to be there, but the distance weighs heavily on me. Perhaps sharing these feelings is part of finding solace?

Then there’s the deeper separation anxiety we all feel—the distance from “the way things were,” the longing for normalcy. My daughter, acutely aware of the gulf between now and Before Crash, feels it keenly as she misses her friends, her brothers, and her routine. The path she would normally be on—choosing a college, stepping into independence—is now a road less traveled.

But in the midst of this, I strive to maintain a semblance of optimism. I see silver linings: the outpouring of support, the unwavering presence of Brooks’ girlfriend and her mother—true saints. We are surrounded by incredible people, those we knew were friends but whose depths we had never fully appreciated.

Yet, beyond gratitude, I find myself contemplating how this ordeal will shape my children’s lives and what unforeseen positives may emerge. Perhaps they’ll cherish the simple things more, seize opportunities with newfound appreciation.

However, the most profound separation anxiety is from the life we knew on January 5th. Not that we wish to turn back time, but that we eagerly await the new paths of recovery our children are carving. We look forward to establishing a new normal, no matter how long it takes, and we are grateful for the chance to do so.

Craig – Jennifer, Bryce, Brody, and our brave Brooks and Lauren
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