Family Tragedy

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Family Tragedy

Post  Ellen-Natalie on Wed Jun 14, 2017 6:20 pm

Last week I tweeted there was a family tragedy that would be affecting updates, and would provide more details later. What had happened was my husband killed himself. I won't go into detail of how or why, those who need to know already do. But I do want to be transparent of what's going on right now, and how it's going to affect FE in the future.

My parents flew in for the weekend, helping clean the apartment and remove anything of Husband's I didn't want to keep. I've arranged for his remains to be cremated (his wishes), and am planning a small memorial in Texas for him. When I receive the ashes, I'll be traveling to Utah to divide the ashes to his mother and help host a funeral. Between cleaning and planning, I've also been making arrangements to reserve and move into a smaller apartment as soon as it's available. My parents helped box up a lot of things I won't be using in the next couple months, and the local LDS bishop has offered to help review therapy options, which I plan to discuss with him further.

My parents also helped evaluate what my financial situation would be now that it's only one income, and it's...going to be hard. I've mentioned before I hesitate to share my personal life online, but I also believe artists should be more open about how they manage their finances and business. It's as valuable of information to share as what tools you use to create. In my case, Husband and I were juggling a lot of debt we'd accrued from moving across the country twice, having to replace the car and sharing a student loan. It was manageable between the two of us, but with only one income continuing that balance would be impossible. Because of this, the past week has also been spent talking with debt consolidators, re-negotiating accounts, and consulting a bankruptcy lawyer on what options I have moving forward.

So, how this will affect FE:

First off, Fan Art Event will still happen. I'd like to keep updates going on the site will sorting out things outside of FE. Because I no longer know what my travel plans are, though, the deadline won't be strict. If you'd like to create and submit a fan comic, I'd love to share your work.

For the comic itself, FE will continue. I've struggled with updates this year, and it's difficult at this point to say when regular updates can resume again. But this comic is a project I'm invested in, and I am still drawing. I need to draw. I just can't predict right now when I have time for it. For now, I'll be posting new pages as they're completed.

Regarding Patreon, I know there's some rewards that need to be finished and new ones are being pledged for. I am doing my best to keep track of who is owed what, and plan to throw myself into getting them all caught up after the funerals and financial issues have been resolved. However, the book project I was working on this year has been placed on hold. The print budget I was counting on is now needed to help out with monthly bills. I hope to start building a budget for printing again in a few months, but for now any comics published will be in digital format.


And finally, I've gotten a lot of kind messages from you guys, offering sympathy and support even though you didn't know exactly what was going on. Thank you guys so much. Once again, you've proven FE Fans are awesome.

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Re: Family Tragedy

Post  The J.A.M. on Wed Jun 14, 2017 10:26 pm

My condolences.
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Re: Family Tragedy

Post  UnknownFromLocalhost on Thu Jun 15, 2017 3:52 am

My deepest condolences. Dont worry about us. I guess everyone currently waiting for rewards could understand your Situation. Keep your head up. Family comes first.

Kind Regards,

Patrick

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Re: Family Tragedy

Post  CelticRose on Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:11 pm

I am so sorry. Sending prayers and good thoughts your way.
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Re: Family Tragedy

Post  Cutekitty on Thu Jun 15, 2017 6:54 pm

I am so sorry for your loss.
Please, take care of yourself as best you can and do not be afraid to ask others to help take care of you too. Not just therapists (though yes, therapy, good idea and I hope it helps) but also family and friends.
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Re: Family Tragedy

Post  Renadt on Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:53 pm

I have experience losing loved ones. I do not have experience with that kind of loss. Take as much time as you need to recover. Sad
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Thank you

Post  potatogun on Fri Jun 16, 2017 8:21 am

I mourn your loss! I, too, have struggled with suicidal thoughts and feelings. It has not been easy to make my way back up to where I am now. I had much help. I just wanted to die. I wanted to leave the world because I felt I would not contribute positively to it. How wrong I was! How much mercy has been shown to me. I thank you for sharing this comic with us. For some of us, it has really helped us get through another day with smiles on our faces and in our hearts. It has helped me step out of my "comfort zone" and become a better person. More able to spend quality time with those I love. More able to accomplish my dreams. Thank you so much! I will pray for you and those around you, that they will see your needs and care.

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Re: Family Tragedy

Post  Mr Ed on Sat Jun 17, 2017 9:23 pm

I...don't know what to say. I haven't lost anyone so close, and certainly not in such a manner. I don't really know what will help; but, please know that I DO care for you!!!

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Re: Family Tragedy

Post  Stitches1974 on Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:10 pm

Very sorry for your loss. Please take all the time you need to get things taken care of for you and your family.

I also sent you a PM as well. Feel free to reply if you wish.


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Update, Plans for August

Post  Ellen-Natalie on Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:56 pm

Been getting messages asking how I'm doing, what's going on. It's hard to know what to share, still processing a lot. First off, there's been so much support and kindness from you all the past couple months, I really can't thank you enough.

I'm doing better. I can function, work, visit friends, pay bills, even laugh sometimes. Other times I lie down and don't want to move. When that happens, I give myself ten minutes, then push to do something productive. Even if it's just taking a shower. The local LDS bishop offerred to pay for therapy sessions for a few months through their family services, which I accepted. I'm not sure yet if they're helping, but it is nice having a neutral party to talk to.

Finance-wise, been looking for as many ways as possible to cut monthly expenses. Small things, like unplugging everything before leaving for Office Job, and bigger things - such moving to a cheaper apartment. Earlier I mentioned exploring different options to manage debt, the unanimous feedback received was to hire a bankruptcy lawyer. I've done this, been corresponding with him and preparing my case. Both the moving date and court date got scheduled during the same week this month.

In regards to how this will affect FE, updates will continue to be posted as they're completed, and I'm looking into older pieces to share during the busier parts of this month. Regarding Patreon, I haven't gotten as many rewards done as I'd hoped, but I am still keeping track of who's owed what. Maybe once the legal and moving matters are resolved I can plan something big and productive to celebrate.

Again, thank you all for your kindness. You've shared personal stories, encouraging words, and offered solutions to help with FE. I'm sorry I haven't responded to them all, but reading them is a bright spot in my day. You're all amazing.
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Re: Family Tragedy

Post  Stitches1974 on Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:46 am

Ellen,

Thank you for the update. I was wondering how you were doing and didn't want to seem intrusive, by sending a bunch of PMs. Good to hear things are going in a positive direction and I hope it stays that way.


Mike
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Re: Family Tragedy

Post  Ellen-Natalie on Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:53 am

Been getting messages asking how things are going lately, and things are okay. I've moved into a smaller, cheaper apartment - but as everything's getting unpacked and settled in, I believe it'll be a good place to stay. Hoping to finish unpacking all the art stuff supplies.

The legal matters seem to be settled for now, everything should be finalized in the next couple months as the trustee follows up with all parties involved.
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Re: Family Tragedy

Post  Stitches1974 on Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:14 pm

Thank you for the new update. I'm glad things are going well for you.
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Re: Family Tragedy

Post  Godel Fishbreath on Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:16 pm

Sorry for your loss.
Still glad I did not intrude.
Hope that you have continued therapy.
Glad that you have continued the comic and Patreon, and willing to take what you can give us as you can.
And it has been a year. Can we hope that things in some way are better?
(Dang, that was inconsiderate of him.)
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Re: Family Tragedy

Post  Ellen-Natalie on Sun Jun 17, 2018 3:15 pm

Godel Fishbreath wrote:And it has been a year. Can we hope that things in some way are better?

Thanks for your kind words, I've been asking myself similar questions this month. I hesitate to say life is better now. It feels like saying life got better because he's gone. It didn't get better, it just changed. But I do think I'm adapting to those changes.  

Things are stabilizing finance-wise, the bankruptcy case went through and accounts were resolved with no complications. Part of the reason for this was I agreed to surrender the car back to the dealership. That wasn't an easy choice, I miss having a car. But I'm fortunate enough to live within walking and biking distance of my immediate needs, (grocer, office job, pharmacy) and very kind friends have been willing to give me a ride when I need to travel farther. Unexpectedly, the extra physical activity has also helped with managing my grief - biking for an hour seems to help take the edge off bad days. Meanwhile, been saving as much as I can, and finally have enough to start looking at used cars for sale. As long as there's no big, surprise expense in the next few months, I plan to have a car again before next winter.

As you've already noticed with FE, updates are irregular. But I'm still drawing, and working towards a regular schedule again. I've also been collecting the Patreon Short Stories from 2014-2015 for a printed anthology, which I hope to have finished by the end of the year. And I've been making more of an effort to find commission work and other paying art projects - to help update my portfolio, and increase revenue from artwork.
Spent a lot of time this year thinking over the goals I'd been working towards the past decade. So many were tied into sharing their rewards with my husband, I'd been re-evaluating if those goals were still worth pursuing without him. Some weren't. But becoming a full-time artist still is. It was good getting that reaffirmation.


Again, thank you guys for all your support this past year. I've kept several of the messages and stories that were sent when he died, and read through them on bad days - they still help. The most valuable thing anyone has time, thank you so much for sharing yours with me - whether it was taking the time to send a message, or just from enjoying FE as it's updated.  You guys are amazing.
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Re: Family Tragedy

Post  Stitches1974 on Mon Jun 18, 2018 6:38 pm

Ellen,

Thanks for the update. It's good to see them from you and know that you're still moving forward with your life. Things may not be going as planned, but remember you will always have people here to fall back on and talk to if needed.
If one of those saved PMs was from me, you still have my contact info. If you ever need vent or someone to talk to, let me know. I don't care what time of day or night it is. Call, text or email me.
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