2021, A Year Full of Goodbyes.

Well, we are at that time of year again where I get really sentimental and reflective of the past year. As I dissected the highs and lows I realized there was an overwhelming number of goodbyes, many were very sad, some were bittersweet, and others led me toward other great happiness. So, here is my 2021 year in review, the year of goodbyes.

I kicked off the year saying good bye to my friends at Lutheran health system in Fort Wayne IN. I miss my friends there and have managed to stay a little in touch over the course of the year but follow them on instagram and facebook and celebrate the joys with them from afar.

I prepared to say goodbye to the garden center all Spring only to have the deal fall through at the last minute because the buyer lacked integrity. A whole lot of work out the window, and we retained ownership of the garden center, more on that later.

A true tragedy struck in July when several of our daughter’s boyfriends friends succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning while attending a music festival here in Michigan. We lost Kole Sova, Richie Maes Jr. And Dawson Brown. Kole was also the son of my soon to be sister in law’s best friend.

Kole Sova with his Mom

Dawson was an aspiring landscaper who would come to the garden center to learn as much as he could from Andy as he built his business. He was a talented young man.

Dawson Brown

Richie was Jake’s best friend, having grown up together they were more like a brothers.


Richie Maes Jr.

Needles to say the loss of these kids hit so many, and they are missed everyday!

A few short weeks later we said goodbye to my Grandpa Bob Alldaffer. He was an amazing man. A proud Korean war veteran, he loved gardening, fishing, and all things Christmas. This holiday season I found myself thinking back on all of the Christmas’s when he would hang an obscene amount of lights and dress up as Santa to hand out candy canes to people driving by to see the display. He had a fun loving heart. I miss him so much. ❤

Bob Alldaffer

A short time later we honored the life of our friend Eric’s Mom. Pam Rider-Campbell was an awesome lady! A veteran, and hard working women her entire life. She embraced everyone as family, and had a special bond with our son Logan. Her passing was definitely another tough one and I have thought of Eric and Rocky often this Christmas as they experience their first Christmas without her.

Pam Rider-Campbell

In early September I made the decision to change jobs. So I said goodbye to Promedica Coldwater and joined the IHA family. 5 days into my new job I had to make the very difficult decision to put our 12 year old golden retriever Yukon to sleep. He had developed an aggressive form cancer. So September 27th we said goodbye to my sweet boy.


Two days later we finalized the sale of the garden center to a new buyer, and we said goodbye to our sweet little shop.

Summit Landscape and Garden Center

In October the world lost another little angel as we learned of the passing of Kellen McCord. Kellen’s Mom was our Logan’s radiation therapist and he was diagnosed a year after Logan. He was 15 years old when he passed and at that point he had undergone 11 long years of treatment for Neuroblastoma. I am saddened for the families loss we know that feeling all too well, but in some ways I am thankful for the mercy and grace that God gives when someone’s fight is just too much. Rest peacefully sweet Kellen.

Kellen McCord

We also paid our respects to my friend Kasey Rimert’s Mom. I didn’t know Darlene Moorehead well. But I know and love Kasey and can appreciate that great women like her come from other great women, and she is a tribute to her Mom’s life. I know she is so proud of her daughter’s and the lives that they have built. I pray for peace for her family as they navigate the future without her.

Darlene Moorehead

On the day of Darlene’s funeral we were told of the sudden and unexpected passing of my husband’s Aunt Debie. Aunt Debie was a fun lady, full of energy, and she had an absolutely contagious laugh. I know that my mother in law is already missing her, and wishing that they had just a little more time to see some more healing in their relationship. Life is too short to hold grudges, find peace and happiness wherever you can.

Debie Gordon Butler

And on December 16th our family lost another patriarch in the death of William “Bill” Bailey. Grandpa Bailey was an amazing man. A family man, he loved the grandkids and great grandkids SO much nothing brought him greater joy than to have time with the kids. He loved taking our kids fishing and hunting. He always made an effort to be present for the things that were important to our kids from ball games and relay for life events to attending Brianna’s pageants and cheering loudly as she rocked the stage. He was their #1 fan. We’ll miss him so much.

William “Bill” Bailey

And our final goodbye also on December 16th was the sudden and tragic death of Taylor Crofts. Taylor’s Dad is our neighbor and our boys grew up together. Although now as adults they see each other less often they still count each other friends. Jordon and Taylor loved to go hunting and I’m sure his family and newlywed wife will be at odds as they navigate this very tough time. Our prayer go out to them as well.

Taylor Crofts

It’s a lot to take in as I reflect on it. But, it wasn’t at all a bad year. We gained family as we welcomed Brianna’s boyfriend Jake Haskell into this crazy mix!  He fits right in lol!

Andy’s cousin John married Arlene Bombalicki in October. She and I have become quite good friends through our shared time on our boats, dancing the night away at various bars, and just truly having a blast navigating the waters of Lake Erie together with our families. I see lots of fun times ahead with the Bombalicki’s.

And a true highlight this year we got a new boat! This coming year she will get a new name, and we plan to enjoy everything lake erie has to offer! Although not our first boat, it is a lovely upgrade that I know will provide us with a ton of happy and exciting memories.

If I learned anything from 2021, it’s to appreciate all of the ups and downs that life has to offer. It’s all there to remind us of how great it is to be a part of this crazy loving world. With that, have a Happy New Year, and I will share more in 2022! Cheers!

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