Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Collective Beating Heart of Humanity

Helping Hearts,

I am not a "everything happens for a reason" person...I can be better described as "shit happens" and "keep calm and trust God". In this situation I felt no different. It did not feel like there was some epic, cosmic reason that our car was stolen and along with it nearly all of our nice possessions. It felt more like a "shit happens" type of situation. Who knows why it happened to us but it happened.
Matilda Jane sent us a box of pretty!

I've changed my mind.

In this situation I think God spun it around so it came back to bless us. These last three weeks have been extremely stressful. I have sobbed like a small child, yelled, lost my temper, and swallowed my pride. It was hard, but it was also healing. Many things happened in these three weeks that made me realize that there is a collective beating heart of humanity. That for the most part the world is good, car thieves are in the minority. Although I will never understand what possessed a man  to steal an aqua blue baby bus with over 100k miles on it, a car that had tons of childhood cancer awareness and info in it so clearly it was needed, a car that was obviously used heavily and well maintained...why that car? Why not one of the nicer cars on our street? I will never know why but I do know this,

Tula sent a "Beacon" carrier
- I had to surrender to the unknown. There many unknowns in this car situation. We were not sure we could buy another car, even with the insurance pay off. We knew we could never afford to replace all the items in the car, many of which were needed for hospital trips. All I knew for sure is I had to surrender.

- I had to accept help. Borrowed seats, offers to replace stolen items, purchasing a car for a price we could afford, allowing news crews to move our tight schedule around so we could tell our story and receive help. I am great at helping, not so good at accepting help. Nothing like a swift kick in the rear end to push you into having no choice but to accept help!

- I had to release the idea that I could somehow pay back everyone who helped. If I get sick and you bring me a meal then you get sick I will bring you a meal. I try to keep track of people who extend themselves for us and make sure to be there for them when their lives crumble. It is part of being a good friend, it is polite, but also it makes me uncomfortable to always accept help but not give back. This situation taught me that sometimes you cannot fully payback people who go out of their way to
Walmart replaced some stolen items
help you. The people who helped us with the car, the friends who drove that car up from LA for us on their day off, the companies who replaced their item we had purchased in the past that was stolen, the corporations that just generously gave of items, the friends who sent gifts to make us smile, and the people who called to check up on us (from the local police to our hospital social worker to friends).

I hate the cliché of "everything happens for a reason", even after this situation I still hate it. I will offer an alternative,

In each situation there is a life lesson you are meant to learn.

So here is my life lesson learned; there is a collective beating heart of humanity. When your heart breaks in life others stop to grieve with you and offer to repair, when your heart rejoices humanity gathers to celebrate with you. People from all over the country rallied to help us, we are all human, our hearts beat as one.

New to us wheels!
So here is my early morning, coffee sponsored way of saying thank you. Thank you for helping us. Thank you for praying for us. Thank you for crying with us. Thank you for reaching out to companies to tell our story, thank you for showing up with news crews to spread the word that we needed help, thank you for giving of your time and resources and finances. We are so grateful. Although I know we can never fully repay all of you we humbly add our heartbeat to yours. If you need a friend we are here.

Love to all of you,
The Heidenbergs

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Secret Option 3?

This week I have learned that insurance companies are in a constant internal conflict with their mission and their bottom line. We buy insurance and pay monthly with the promise that if the house burns down or your spouse dies unexpectedly or your car is stolen out of your driveway that they will come to the rescue. Not so. I have paid my own car insurance for half my life, each month I cut a check to a promise that they will have my back if Hell comes knocking. This week I have decided that insurance is also Hell.

I told ABC News that I am not sure how this ends but in our situation things only get worse and not better. That has always been the case. Charities lend a hand and a fundraiser might help but at the end of the day each MRI adds to a huge bill we cannot pay screwing up our debt to income ratio making
it impossible to buy a home or get a car loan. This was not a huge issue over the last few years, we have a lovely home we rent from sweet friends which suits our purposes and I took out my car loan before Emma was ill so I was "grandfathered" into it. Then my car is stolen.

See here is the issue, if the insurance decides to cut a check for what they believe is the value of the car they will chop it up before it gets to me. They take a piece for themselves for the deductible (because apparently paying every month for 15 years did not give them enough of my money) then what I owe still on my car loan comes out and the rest goes to us. I did the will not be enough unless for some reason they assess my van to be of great value (I will not hold my breath). So I will be sitting here with a check that is not enough to buy another car that I would feel safe putting my kids inside and driving three hours to Stanford in Bay Area traffic.

Let's pretend the van is recovered by police. We all know that insurance will pay the bare minimum on repairs to the car. I can tell you now that I will never feel safe in that car ever again. What if it was used in a drug deal and now people recognize it as a dealer van? What if there is stuff hidden in the car from the thief that could hurt my children? What if, what if, what Mommy brain goes wild. These scenarios have been keeping me awake at night.

Option 1 is not enough money to buy another car, option 2 is a recovered van that makes my anxiety go insane.

Like I said, pretty sure this doesn't end well.

After ABC News10 aired our story we had a few new donations to our Go Fund Me, that was such a blessing and those funds are being put aside to go toward a car. A huge heartfelt thank you to every donation, every little bit makes us feel like we are not in this alone. My prayer is for secret option 3, a miracle. Pray for that please.

If you missed our news segment you can see it here, ABC Story, our GoFundMe is just the one we have used for the last three years, when they cut us a check at the end of the month I will put it aside for the car, GoFundMe. If any of you are in the Bay Area or Central Valley my sweet friend is putting on a garage sale for us. Oddly enough we have been planning that for a month! It was supposed to be just extra funds to make things easier for travel to appointments and living life but now it is car fund.
A huge thank you to everyone who let us borrow car seats, is working hard to replace stolen items in the car, sending us prayer, and working hard on these fundraisers I mentioned. Right now the car seat situation is covered and it looks like the stroller might be covered as well. I will know more today. There were other items in the car not replaced; overnight bags filled with clothes and shoes, new backpacks for school, Hope's puppy kennel, Hope's puppy bed for the car, Emma's iPod (I gave her my iPod to prevent having to listen to "Let it Go" 100 times on our hospital travels!), and some of our favorite toys.
If you see us around town try not to talk about everything that we lost unless Emma brings it up, there were tons of tears yesterday as she recalled things that were in the car. It was heartbreaking to explain to a child so young what theft means and why bad people take things that do not belong to them. If she brings it up by all means let her talk.
Thank you again for all the help and support, we are so thankful!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

"Mommy, Where's Your Car?"

It was a normal Sunday morning, I was preparing breakfast and the kids were running around making requests for pancakes and berries while I sleepily made coffee.

"Mommy, where's your car?" Emma asked.
"In the driveway honey."
"It's not there."
"Yes it is."
"No...where's your car Mommy?"

I walked out from the kitchen to our living room and sure enough, a blank driveway. No way, my car was stolen!? Brad and I looked at each other in disbelief. "My car was stolen?" I knew I had seen it at 10pm the night before when I was preparing our bread dough. Now it is gone. Phone calls, police reports, insurance I sit staring at my empty driveway.

My life was in that car. Three expensive car seats, my running stroller, Hope's puppy kennel, Emma's Kindle Fire with all her downloaded Disney movies for hospital trips, my iPod...oh no my iPod! It may have been old but it was mine! I feel so violated, I feel sad, I feel like a bad country song.

In the span of one month Emma's tumors have enhanced, I was diagnosed with PTSD, I had to fire a doctor for the first time ever, Brad had his own cancer scare and a minor surgery to remove it, and now my car has been stolen along with so many of our belongings. I am beginning to take this personally.

I keep thinking we have hit rock bottom, then something else happens. At this point I am not sure it will ever get better. What to know some irony in all of this? I was supposed to teach Sunday School today, the topic I was assigned was Job. Umm ya, can't make this stuff up.

So today I will take a lesson from Job, I will continue to trust in God and that He has some sort of master plan for us. Although I have no idea what that entails (and I hope it has no more tragedy) I will trust that He cries with us.

For those of you who have asked about what happens now, I am not completely sure. Our insurance dept that handles stolen cars is only open Monday - Friday. I will call first thing tomorrow and figure out where to go from here. My hope is in the end this will somehow become a blessing for us. After all, we did hit rock bottom today...right?