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Family Matters...could really use some advice--long

L

laurac260

I could really use some impartial advice, from people who have no vested interest in which direction we go in.

Here's some background:

My wonderful husband of 14 years is struggling right now. It has been a heck of a start to 2012 to be sure. He turned 50 at the beginning of the year, and on that day, he also learned he is going to need yet another surgery. It is a long, long story, but as much as he swore he'd never have another surgery, they were concerned he was going to lose his ability to breathe or move his arms. He had the surgery mid Feb. It will be a slow recovery. Two weeks after his surgery, his mother went in for a surgery as well to remove the rest of her pancreas (some of you might remember she had most of it removed two years ago, and we thought we were going to lose her). Well, they removed the remaining pancreas, and also learned she had stage IV lung cancer. She never left ICU. 40 days later she passed. That was two weeks ago. Yesterday he had an infected tooth pulled, to add to his list of pain. Today starts the first night of Passover, his mother's favorite holiday. He is beside himself.

Now, my husband is a pretty tough guy, and under normal circumstances he'd be the kind to bounce back. But for the past 17 years he has been dealing with one medical issue after another, starting with a debilitating injury 17 years ago, and another one 15 years ago. He's been on and off a cane, in and out of a wheelchair, confined to bed for years, deep depression, etc. Needless to say he's had his share of stuff. Still, he is resilient. This year though is taking the stuffing out of him.

Now, what does any of this have to do with a family matter? Well, in the entire 15 years I have known him, there's been one place, and one place only, that we've ever been that when we are there, he is at peace. Relaxed. Happy. Content. We went to Hilton Head Island in 2009 for the first time (we go every year now), and since that day, he has talked about wanting to live there. He checks the weather report there DAILY. He lives for our NEXT trip.

Me, I could live anywhere. I am pretty good about rolling with it. If it were just the two of us, it would be a no brainer. But it's not just the two of us. We have kids. And my biggest dilemma is my 11 year old daughter. She is very rooted in her life right now. Her friends. Her swim team, her life. My 5 year old wouldn't miss a beat, but it would rock her world if we up and left.

So, who wins? Who's heart do I follow? I see my husband suffering, and I want him to find peace. I don't know what the future will bring for him, nor how long I will have him with me. But I also see my daughter in a good place, (physically, mentally, emotionally), and I don't want to interrupt that either. School is a no brainer at this point, we homeschool, can do that anywhere.

What do I do? What would YOU do?
 

Rose Pink

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Laura, my heart goes out to you. I wish I could give you a real hug.

Is it financially feasible to have two homes, one in HHI and your current one? Can you afford to go back and forth? It doesn't seem to me that your husband would be able to handle going back and forth as ill as he currently is even if money was a non-issue.

Vacationing somewhere and actually living there are different. Once you start a normal, daily routine the place may lose its magic. Maybe not, but vacations feel enchanted because they are just that, vacations. Would moving to HHI take the splendor out of your husband's dream? Only you and he can answer that.

Children are resilient for the most part. There are other swim teams and new friends to be made. That's not to say it wouldn't be wrenching at first but if she is emotionally healthy to begin with, she will adapt. I don't know your daughter so you'll have to answer that for yourself.

I think, if it were me, and if my children were emotionally healthy, I'd go where my husband wanted to go. Especially if it would give him happiness and peace in his final years.
 

icul8rg8r

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11 year olds can handle the switch, especially since you homeschool. Just find a homeschool co-op and a YMCA or another swim team and she'll make new friends and adjust in no time. Now if she was a senior in highschool, that would be a different matter!

Happy parents make for happy kids! I think the move would do wonders for your husband (and the rest of the family!).
 

Passepartout

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I think you should go to HHI if you can afford it. Maybe rent there for 6 months or so if you really need the reinforcement of knowing it's the RIGHT move. Kids are resilient. If you move, the now 11 y.o. will be fully acclimated by the time she's an 'official' teen. The now 5 y.o. will just be a native 'islander'. If it gives DH some months or years of peace and relief it is a small price to pay.

I really DO wish you and your family all the best.

Peace.

Jim
 

theo

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Some (alleged) thoughts...

I am absolutely and completely unqualified to offer informed advice on this, but one thought (the home schooling completely aside) springs to my mind and that thought pertains specifically and directly to the prospect of your two children potentially growing up in HHI.

Admittedly, I don't personally like HHI, so I may harbor a bit of a bias; to me HHI has a sort of "isolationist" and / or "elitist" overall social feel to it. But how I view the place is certainly completely irrelevant --- what I am really wondering is whether HHI is really and truly a good environment for two young girls to spend their formative years and adolescence (and be able to be happy doing so) in terms of their making friends, finding activities, learning socialization skills and becoming well adjusted "citizens of the broader world", if you will.

I also wonder, as has already been expressed by someone else above, whether the "vacation mode air of magic" we all know so well would, in fact, continue in strength for your husband upon actually becoming a full time resident of HHI. Maybe yes, maybe no. Maybe a more extended stay (particularly "off season") before burning any bridges behind you would help to flesh that out. :shrug:

I do not envy your difficult situation and I greatly admire your devotion to and concern for your husband. Without even knowing you, it seems clear enough that you are a selfless and giving individual. I just can't help but wonder if your husband would still be able to find that elusive peace and contentment year round on HHI, and /or if it turned out that both of your two children came to genuinely dislike HHI... :shrug:

I don't have the answers. I can only wish you to find peace and happiness in whatever you decide to do.
 
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Elan

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First thing is to identify what it is about HHI that puts your husband at peace. Has he ever expressed what about HHI makes him happy?

Agree with the others that the kids will adapt. And that a happy husband will likely lead to an overall happier household.
 

rhonda

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Taking a note from the event of Passover ... I'd seriously consider moving to Hilton Head. G-d's people didn't know exactly where He was leading them or even if they really wanted to leave Egypt. There were huge obstacles (like the Red Sea) -- but G-d provided the escape. He provided for them miraculously through their journey.

G-d uprooted my family when I was about your daughter's age. We moved from NJ to San Diego for a short, 4yr contract offered to my father back in the mid-70's. We've been planted here ever since. I remember not liking my first few years here ... but for what it is worth, I didn't move back to NJ when I hit sufficient age or means to do so. ;-)

My 2011 was much like your 2012. My year started with the loss of many dear friends. My Dad was laid off in May and the very next week my mother was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer. She had whipple surgery in June on her birthday. The night before her surgery she brought Dad to the ER for shortness of breath. He was biopsied for Lung Cancer while she was in surgery. He passed in Sept and she in late Feb. My life, as well as those of my siblings, has been a whirlwind of caregiving. We've only just bid farewell to the guests who travelled out for her Memorial Service and are now facing the 2011 taxes for my parent's estate. Sometimes the schedule alone can be crushing.

Gladly for me, we bought a home at my "happy place" 6 years ago. If it weren't for that escape ... I'd really be a wreck. I know I've aged horribly this past year -- but I get up to our house in the hills and the mirrors there show me a much prettier, youthful, peaceful Rhonda. I don't know why they do that ... but they do. Even if we can only get there for one night a week - I am **much** better for it.

Please, pursue Hilton Head. Your daughter will adapt. Chase whatever gives your family joy and peace.

Blessings on your family. {{HUGS}}
 

Janette

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We would love to have another Tugger living nearby. We live in Sun City, so we spend a lot of time with our neighbors. We do love the island and know that there are wonderful people living there and lots of activities for your children. Our prayers are with you that all of you may find peace and happiness.
 
L

laurac260

Thanks for the thoughtful replies . Sorry if I've confused anyone. We have 1 daughter , 11, and a son, 5.
 

funtime

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Hold off in my opinion

I say hold off. I don't think it is about a push pull between husband and children. I think the tension is between husband and husband. Thus, have you investigated what type of sophisticated medical care your husband could receive at Hilton Head and how far the drive to a major medical center would be? It would be a damn shame if he expired during a long ambulance ride. He may have to go at least down to Savannah and I am not sure how major their medical facilities are. (Sad thought but one to consider.)

I would seriously look into buying two or three Hilton Head lock offs - even if they are the stone cold winter months. Better yet, if you can afford it gold weeks. With two HHI lockoffs you can get four weeks of HHI including potential trade upgrades with II - but be sure to get lockoffs.

Also fall weather is nice in HHI and it is realtively easy to trade into top Marriotts in the fall such as Barony. Use the timeshare system to spend four plus weeks in HHI but keep your roots where they are including the medical system that your husband uses. As someone with health challenges, I do not underestimate the importance of residing in a major metropolitan area (I live in Dallas) and HHI is not that. That's my two cents. Funtime
 

Pat H

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I also love living in Sun City which is in Bluffton not HHI. I'd suggest looking into communities both on the island and in Bluffton. House prices are cheaper off the island. A place with a community pool/activities will help you all to meet other people.
 

Gophesjo

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HHI does have a USA Swimming Swim Team - I worked out in the lane next to one of their young stars last November when I was at a conference on the island. She was GOOD!

I also think that like most resort destinations, the year rounders are easily able to separate themselves out from all of the transient tourists, and that your kids would not suffer for living in that kind of environment. That said, however, the year round population is not real large - I think size of the community is potentially more of an issue than the fact that it is a resort community.
 

pwrshift

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Sorry to hear of your dilemma, Laura, and I hope all will turn out well for you. I don't know where you live now but it appears to have close by medical facilities. I'm not familiar with the quality of medical care in HHI but if you ever need good medical assistance you'd be wise to have them close at hand. Sometimes uprooting yourself from friends and family where you now live cand be difficult, but your children are young and might adapt more easily than you do.

Personally while I like HH the summer temperature and humidity might be tough to handle.

Best wishes,
Brian
 

Patri

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If you can determine the move will really help your husband find happiness, I say go. The kids will be fine. We moved when our oldest was 12, and they all fit in within a couple weeks. Now this is home and we can't imagine living anywhere else.
There certainly are many issues to factor in. Let DH do the homework and when you are both comfortable with what HH has to offer, look for a place.
 

Janette

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My hubby had open heart surgery at the HHI hospital. If you need more care than they can provide, Beaufort is associated with Duke University. Savannah and Charleston have some of the best health care in the nation. You only have to go out during the off season to see how many locals there are. Some folks spend time inside when they are covered in snow and the temps are very low. We stay inside during the heat of the day in the summer. The ocean breezes are nice(we don't get them at Sun City).
 

presley

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Lots to think about and emotional times are not always the best times to make any life altering decisions. Have you been thinking about moving to HHI for a while?

I do understand your concern for your daughter, but she has an entire life in front of her to follow her own dreams. Have you and your husband ever put yourselves first? How many years have you and your husband done anything for yourselves?

Is there a temporary solution? Is it possible to vacation much more in HHI than you already are? If you able to go there every couple months or at least once each season, you'd get a much better idea on what life would be like if you moved there.

It's very loving and kind of you to consider moving just for the sake of your husband's happiness, but will a move like that really change anything in his life?
 

Tia

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Now is the time for your family to move before the 11yo gets deeper into her upcoming social life imho.

I could really use some impartial advice, from people who have no vested interest in which direction we go in.

Here's some background:

My wonderful husband of 14 years is struggling right now. It has been a heck of a start to 2012 to be sure. He turned 50 at the beginning of the year, and on that day, he also learned he is going to need yet another surgery. It is a long, long story, but as much as he swore he'd never have another surgery, they were concerned he was going to lose his ability to breathe or move his arms. He had the surgery mid Feb. It will be a slow recovery. Two weeks after his surgery, his mother went in for a surgery as well to remove the rest of her pancreas (some of you might remember she had most of it removed two years ago, and we thought we were going to lose her). Well, they removed the remaining pancreas, and also learned she had stage IV lung cancer. She never left ICU. 40 days later she passed. That was two weeks ago. Yesterday he had an infected tooth pulled, to add to his list of pain. Today starts the first night of Passover, his mother's favorite holiday. He is beside himself.

Now, my husband is a pretty tough guy, and under normal circumstances he'd be the kind to bounce back. But for the past 17 years he has been dealing with one medical issue after another, starting with a debilitating injury 17 years ago, and another one 15 years ago. He's been on and off a cane, in and out of a wheelchair, confined to bed for years, deep depression, etc. Needless to say he's had his share of stuff. Still, he is resilient. This year though is taking the stuffing out of him.

Now, what does any of this have to do with a family matter? Well, in the entire 15 years I have known him, there's been one place, and one place only, that we've ever been that when we are there, he is at peace. Relaxed. Happy. Content. We went to Hilton Head Island in 2009 for the first time (we go every year now), and since that day, he has talked about wanting to live there. He checks the weather report there DAILY. He lives for our NEXT trip.

Me, I could live anywhere. I am pretty good about rolling with it. If it were just the two of us, it would be a no brainer. But it's not just the two of us. We have kids. And my biggest dilemma is my 11 year old daughter. She is very rooted in her life right now. Her friends. Her swim team, her life. My 5 year old wouldn't miss a beat, but it would rock her world if we up and left.

So, who wins? Who's heart do I follow? I see my husband suffering, and I want him to find peace. I don't know what the future will bring for him, nor how long I will have him with me. But I also see my daughter in a good place, (physically, mentally, emotionally), and I don't want to interrupt that either. School is a no brainer at this point, we homeschool, can do that anywhere.

What do I do? What would YOU do?
 

spencersmama

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Even though Hilton Head might be the place you are meant to be, I wouldn't make the move yet. On top of the difficult time he has been going through, he just lost his mother. I wouldn't make any big changes so soon after such an emotional event.

I would recommend two things. The first thing is to get away, preferably to Hilton Head, with just the two of you. Leave the kids at home and use this time to reconnect with each other, give each other comfort, and dream about the future. Try to figure out what it is that your husband likes about Hilton Head. Part of it might be the relaxed atmosphere and temperate climate, but it could be as simple as having your undivided attention. Keeping a relationship healthy is the hardest thing to do, especially when you both are in the middle of parenting. Add doctors' appointments, physical injury and an ill mother and it becomes practically impossible. This is the time he needs you more than any other in his life. Make an effort to be there for him as his partner and confidant.

The other piece of advice I would give is to have him talk to a therapist. I know this is hard for men especially, but it could really help him. You said he was in a deep depression before. If he is having chemical imbalance issues, the right medication can make a world of difference. I know from personal experience I've had with a family member.

As far as the 11 yo goes, a healthy family is the most important thing in a child's life. If the move ends up being the best thing for you and your husband, it will be in her best interest in the end. I just wouldn't plan on moving yet. If there is an underlying issue and you don't take care of that first, something as stressful as a move will just exacerbate the situation. You two need to make an informed decision as a unified partnership.

Prayers and hugs for you and your family! <3
 

PStreet1

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It seems to me that Spencer's Mama has some some really meaningful things, as have others:
1. There is no doubt that your 11 year old will adjust--and really, the sooner the better
2. Investigate why HHI is such a wonderful place for your husband....is it the ocean? Is it the island life style? Is it the vacation atmosphere? I suspect others are right in saying that finding out what that factor is would be very important in any decision you would ultimately make.
3. counseling to help you both see this decision more clearly would be an important step.
4. Another factor to consider, I think, is how well the two of you adjust to new areas and making new friends. We moved to Arizona--and I spent years wishing we had not, despite already knowning people here and fitting in well. I missed soooo many things about our old location; finally, the housing crash forced me to see that THIS is where I have to stay, and I've been better (but that hasn't stopped me from wishing I'd never made the move). Counseling might help you look at similar issues.
5. Renting is a wonderful solution if you can do it; try it and see how it goes while you still have an easy escape hatch.

I don't envy you this decision. I, too, wish I could give you a hug.
 

cindi

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You have made no mention of jobs. Have you even looked to see if either or both of you can find comparable jobs there? And how about the health insurance issues? If you switch jobs will you still have the same and continued coverage?

I think that you should wait at least 6 months to a year to make a decision like that. It sounds like there is much to work through both physically and emotionally. Now is not the time to make such a huge decision. JMO

And I have to agree with who mentioned about it maybe being so wonderful because it IS a vacation. Living there may be something completely different.
 

Laurie

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You might consider a 9-mo trial during the off-season, as there would be many lower-cost rentals Sept-May.

When I was 13, my family moved from the town I'd grown up in, very much against my wishes. I'd also been very rooted in my hometown; it was a rough move for me at that age, I loved my old community and friends, and never liked the new one. And I resented not being considered in the decision.

Have you asked your daughter what she thinks, and whether she'd be willing to go for a 9-month trial period or so, sort of like a year abroad, after which your whole family could evaluate together?

A beautiful place like HHI can be healing to the body and spirit, I can understand why it would give him such solace. Personally I derive a lot of peace and happiness from living in a gorgeous place, as I do now.

Another idea, if you're in a position to, is to purchase something in HHI now that could be a home you move to later, and operate it as a rental until the kids are ready and willing. It could be a good time to buy, and might lift his spirits enough knowing you're headed that way, if not immediately.

I've recently become acquainted with some long-time HHI residents with kids (teens now), so if you have specific questions about resources there, I can ask for you.
 

Courts

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I can't even try to put myself in your position, I can only relate a story about some close friends of ours. Our friend Ed owned two lunch trucks but he was tired of the cold weather in the Philadelphia area so he and wife decided to move the family to Florida.

He had visited Florida a couple times but not for very long. They found a good deal on a house and things looked good. They were there about three years before deciding to move back north. It turns out they did not like the hot weather any better than the cold weather especially the lunch truck business.

I know this is not the same situation as yours but as others have pointed out vacationing and living year around can be very different. We have visited HHI during the summer (middle of June) and the heat and humidity can be brutal.

As far as the children are concerned, we moved just four miles when our girls were 12 and 8 years old. It wasn't a great distance but they were upset at first because of leaving friends and going to a new school. This was before everybody had a computer to keep in touch. They both made new friends and adjusted.

I wish you well in making your decision.
.
 

AKE

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Kids are adaptable. I moved when I was 15 and I don't ever recall being upset by it. My sister was 11 at that time and she had no issues either. Yes I lost my old friends but I quickly made new ones. I can't imagine my parents consulting me or worrying about me adapting... and even if I had been vehemently against it, it would not have made any difference. As it was, I moved away again to university at 18 leaving both family and friends behind. I never did return home permanently again as I met my future husband at university and we both relocated to another area of the country after graduation. The only move that I have ever regretted was the last one (and that was 35 years ago) as we had no family in town, the kids grew up far away from both sets of grandparents, and when our parents and grandparents became old and had terminal illnesses, we were not able to be there with them except for sporadic brief visits due to work and other committments.

As some of the others have noted, a vacation is much different than living in a place. I know a number of people who 'retired' to a different area of the country, only to either move back, or regret moving because their new residence, once the halo wore off, was no different than their old one. I concur with the suggestion that your husband needs to visit a therapist, HHI (or any other place) is not the panacea in the long term that I think your husband envisions. As well, if your husband has been sick on and off for a number of years, you want quick access to top notch medical facilities. This would be the primary requirement when considering moving.
 

VivianLynne

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Basicly you have described your entire 14 years of your marriage as being one where your husband has been sick (very sick). Even your courtship, your attention was centered on his illnesses and him. As an armchair observor, I believe you need to understand that as your children become INDIVIDUALS and demand more of your time, things are going to get worse as your attention (and the kids) for him will continue to lessen. Moving will NOT solve any of his unhappinesses or problems, but it will isolate you and the kids more.

If he will NOT participate in therapy WITH you, go by yourself. If your don't have the money, go to ALNON ... just replace your co-dependence on his illnesses instead of it being drugs or alcohol.

My first reading of this thread had me saying, move and the kids will adapt. But on reflection, I started to think that no single place should be a 'happy place' for a person - it is his family that should make him happy and he should be happy WHEN his family is happy. Comments saying that HHI was sort of an isolationist feel island, also hit home.

Maybe he will change w/o professional help, but YOU can only change yourself and help your kids to be happy. He is totally responsible his own happiness but is he as concerned as you for his children happinesses?
 

bogey21

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If you can afford it, why not 4 visits to HHI per year rather than having to face the issues and complications surrounding a permanent move. What if you move and your husband dies shortly thereafter? What do you do then?

George
 
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