Support for Lacye and Lilith

$10,271 of $30,000 goal

Raised by 110 people in 12 months
Created May 23, 2018
Fundraising Team
on behalf of Richard Winkelpleck
Dear Friends, Family, and Community of Lacye and Lilith,

  It is with great sadness that I compose this letter to you.  As many of you are beginning to hear, we lost Bart Wesolowski to an accidental asphyxiation on Monday, May 14th.  Lacye & Lilith are surrounded by a strong team of support here in Sebastopol, but at a time like this we are calling in more support from the larger circle.  
   Lacye would like to be transparent about finances because it is uncomfortable for her to be asking for support in this way. Lacye is currently without a solid home. Her last home situation became uncomfortably complicated, & so she had been staying with Bart until she found something safe, affordable, & suitable for long-term.  Unfortunately, she was also laid off of the wonderful job that she had for the previous year. It was already feeling like she was nearing rock bottom.  We can’t even imagine how this blow of losing Bart can be tolerated by her nervous system, that said she is navigating this all with such grace. Even though Bart & Lacye officially ‘split-up’ 2 years ago, they have remained legally married & committed to each other as family & partners in raising their daughter. Bart was working through the legal immigration process. For this alone, she still currently owes $5,000 in federal back taxes. Due to the logistics of his immigration status, Bart couldn’t have any of his own credit cards. This said, Lacye took on this debt, along with an innumerable amount of other expenses that are surfacing daily. I mention some of this not to create judgement or shame. Bart had the best intentions on paying these expenses himself, and never would have purposefully left Lacye to carry this alone. I mention this only to be very clear on what kind of financial burden she has been left with & what she will need to become stable without him.  She has also taken on the expenses for the cremation and the upcoming memorial.
  As a community, we also hope to also help cover Lilith’s preschool expenses for the foreseeable future.  ChildKind has been lovingly supportive, and Lilith is very happy at school.  It is the most stable environment for her. Although there may be lower cost schools for next year, free public school does not begin until fall of 2019.
  Lacye wants you all to know that she is floored with gratitude at the outpouring of love and support.  It may take some time for her to get in touch with you directly, please allow this space.  She is feeling very motivated to turn some of her attention towards heading to school so that she can find a career that will support the family and become the best role model single mama that she can be.  If you feel that you might have others ways of helping please feel free to contact me, Sarah Wieland. 
   The support team is also working on organizing a Memorial Service for Bart.  Please save the date for Wednesday 4pm on June 13th .  Bart passed away on the New Moon and we would like to honor him on the next New Moon.  It will likely be in Ragle Park in Sebastopol. More details will come soon.  We apologize for any inconvenience it might create that this is a midweek gathering.  We are really hoping to collect kid friendly stories from all of you who knew and loved Bart so that we can compile them into a book to offer both Lilith and Sebastian so that they might remember their dad with laughter & love.  For those that may not know, Bart was father to 3 year old Lilith Ember and Sebastian who I believe is now 16 years old.
  There will be a separate fund set up for Sebastian once we can coordinate with his mother. Please contact me if you would like to be notified when that is available. wielandsarah@gmail.com
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(Please Read Part 1 First. See Previous Update)
(Part 2)

Lilith has 1 more year before she will enroll in free public school. In the meantime, my life here is unsustainable. I don’t have a job, I don’t like my home, I’m sad, I’m not fulfilled, I’m busy, I’m lonely, I'm bitter, Ive got this horrible negative loop rolling constantly through my head… I just need a break. I need some space & time to remember who I am so I can manifest something different. It’s just not working out for me here, and I am done trying to force it. I simply can’t afford to be here. In any way.

Currently being processed is a passport bearing the photo of the cutest little blond girl I know. On November 5th, Lilith & I will board a flight to Bali. Our return flight is scheduled for mid-July. I have booked our first 10 nights in an air-conditioned, ocean view room with a jacuzzi tub and pool for $12/night. I am confident that I can find housing for us at this price point for our entire stay. My budget will be just under $1k per month. Small, but not that small for Bali. My plan is to be with my daughter as much as possible for the last year I have with her before she HAS to be in school full time. THEN, I can get back to working, once that huge expense of childcare is gone & bills can be more manageable.
This last weekend, I completed a certification to teach yoga & meditation to children. The logistics are too complicated for me to be ‘working’ in Indonesia, but I can offer free classes to make friends & build community. I Love children and see myself really thriving in this kind of work/play with them. Plus, I'm not going there to work. One of the biggest pieces of this plan is to take some time to WRITE & to volunteer my writing skills to build a portfolio for myself as a professional. Once I get settled, I can take an online class or 2. My hope is to take this time to heal, to reset, to see monkeys & play & volunteer & eat well & do yoga & pray & get excited about something again... & to write... to set Lilith & I up with some semblance of a career path for me to come home to, so we can survive without this maddening hustle. I am seeing this time away as a very important investment... a big, full, deep breath, AND an opportunity to set us up for a successful future.

As of now, there is $9500 in this fund. Thank you. This will support our whole entire trip. THANK YOU! We also have a little bit set aside to come home to. Any further donations collected will go into savings. I would like each of you who have donated (time, money, food, childcare, listening, support in ANY way) to know how deeply grateful I am with every cell of my being. These last few months have been messy & my grief has been unpredictable. Those of you who have stuck by my side, relentlessly reassuring me that you Love Lilith & I and have our backs, despite my inability to return phone calls, be a good friend, or respectfully respond at all... I know you haven’t done it for recognition, but I see you, and thank you. I’m still a mess at times, & I probably will be for a long time. This is grief. This is a long road, & I continue to need support. Those of you who know me well know that I am fiercely independent & am not one to ask for help. This process has been painfully humbling. I have needed help & continue to. I want you all to know that, yes, I am scared. I recognize the insanity of moving with a small child across the world to a place I’ve never been, far away from everyone I know… But overall, am feeling such a huge YES for this journey we’re about to take. It reminds me of something Lacye would do. :) There’s absolutely no way I could do anything but fall apart & fail without your support. Grief NEEDS community, just like parenting. I can’t scream this loud enough. So, thank you, from the depths of my Being, for being mine & my sweet girls. I am learning SO MUCH through this terrible & beautiful process, & Im so grateful to have been given this opportunity to be take some space to remember who I am & to write about it. Somehow, in this great loss, I’m finding a surprising liberation. I hope you read about it in my upcoming blog & that it serves you in some way. I’ll keep you posted.
In deep gratitude,
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(Part 1)
It's been 4 months. It makes sense that life has returned to normal for most people, & the community at large has been able to move on. It is not that way for Lilith and I. There is no ‘normal’ to return to, so something new must be forged.

I’m writing because, by adding your name to this list of donors, you’ve offered your support as a signal that you care and are concerned for us. I’m writing because I want you to know how your generosity is helping us & how I’m choosing to use it to move forward. This whole experience has left me feeling very ‘public’. This letter has me nervous to be so exposed, but again, in addition to my deep gratitude, I also feel a camaraderie with all of you. I WANT you to know. This is not a confession... although I have struggled with this letter, hoping beyond hope that you ‘approve’ of my choices. But more so I hope that you trust me enough to know in what ways this money will best serve us moving forward.

I am not going back to school. Lilith is in school 3 days a week, & those 3 days are not cheap. I cannot, in 3 days, work enough to afford her school & rent & bills, actually attend school, and do all the homework necessary for success. Sonoma County is expensive, & 3 days isn’t enough time. I could put her in school more, but that would cost more, make me more busy than I already am, and then... when would I see her? How could I possibly be present with her? She’s 4, & has only one parent. Without getting into it, her grief is also profound. My highest priority is supporting her.

Then there’s my grief. Those of you who I am also Facebook friends with have seen my posts. For those of you who are not in touch in that way, Ill be frank and honest. I am struggling. I am depressed, anxiety ridden, and scared. I have not set myself up well, socially or economically. I hesitate to share the intimate details of how Bart’s addictions have changed the shape of my life. I do not want to cast a foul light on a wonderful man who suffered with addiction, however I want you to understand the facts so that you might better understand my choices.

As is not original from anyone who has Loved an addict, my life is not the awesome picture of abundance and light it was before I invested in Bart’s wellness and lost. Without getting too deep into our personal dynamics or all the colorful threads of my own codependency I have been busy untangling these last few months, I am slowly waking up to a wreckage of a life abandoned in effort to ‘fix’ someone else. I express these things not as a victim, but as a woman stating the truth of her own blunders while attempting to ensure an empowering resolve. At the top of the list of addictions, was gambling. Bart gambled away my life savings. Again, I’m not telling you this to paint a picture of a villain. I do so to give you the full picture, to reinstate my gratitude, & validate your support. My savings was created in an industry that largely just doesn’t exist anymore. We claimed bankruptcy. He always promised me the world to make up for it. I believe he would have given me the world if he could have. But where I am now, its gone, and I am still without a new career path. As also comes with the territory of addiction, Bart isolated himself. I also did the same, rejecting the advise of friends, ashamed of my devotion. Most of my phone calls & my ‘social time’ was with Bart. In the lonely wake of his passing, this isolation is painfully evident. I miss him. He was our family & community. A huge supporting factor to our isolation worth noting is that we live without cell reception or reliable internet. I can only connect on the phone when I’m out and about, & while I’m with Lilith, I choose to give her my full attention & not to be on the phone.

Support was unbelievably strong up until the memorial. I was held in every way, above and beyond. However, regular life has ensued since then, and that support has almost completely dropped off. This is no one’s fault & no ones responsibility. It’s just the nature of our busy life outside of the ‘village’. We have no family nearby & I can’t afford childcare. I’m so crazy BUSY all the time trying to make ends meet, I don't have time to make new friends & just barely engage in the ones we already have. I deeply long for a tighter knit community. I long to share meals, have people pop on by my house, & go on play dates. Let me be clear that grief is very much like a mental illness. All the texts and facebook messages are much appreciated, however none can take the place of actual, physical presence. Being the absolute mess my brain is these days, I do not have the bandwidth in an especially chaotic moment, to recall that one message I received where someone who I haven’t hung out with or seen in many months or years offered to help. If I did, I would absolutely reach out in utmost gratitude! My brain is just not working right, and grief and overwhelm come unannounced. In the moment, I just freeze. So, for those of you who wonder why I haven’t reached back, I hope this provides some insight. I have been so busy spinning my wheels just trying (& failing) to stay afloat that there’s no time or space for me to BE the community I want to see in the world, to seek the healing I desperately need, or to take any of the steps that I see would be most beneficial for me in pursuing a career as a writer (ie actually taking the time to write) As I’m sure you can gather, this just doesn’t make sense. I want community, but don’t have time to hang out. I’m running nonstop but nothing is getting done. When I had a home to host, I threw parties & potlucks. It’s always been my dream and my self-appointed role to create community space. Without that role, I am just kinda lost. It’s been like this for a while now. Not just since Bart’s death. I broke when my financial abundance piece broke. The bills of Bart’s storage, federal debt, almost $1k in unpaid traffic citations, phone payments, etc, etc, etc don’t seem to end. I am STILL deep in paperwork & logistics of his passing. His family has declined to assist in any way, financial or otherwise. I feel stuck and trapped, and I know it’s my own mindset that needs to reset before anything external will change.

I get that some of this might be difficult to read. It’s taken me over a month to write this letter. Trust me, it has been even less comfortable for me to write, & even less comfortable for me to live.

I’m getting somewhere, I promise.
(continued on part 2)
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Hello everyone!
Many of you have requested updates, so I wanted to send that along with a huge heartfelt THANK YOU! Words can't express what your continued support means to Lilith and I. Losing Bart has been heartbreaking, terrifying, isolating, and beyond devestating in so many ways. Having this financial piece managed here means that we can do the hard work of grieving with a little less of the 'terror for our future' part.
Update: We are still looking for a stable home. We will need to move from where we are sometime this fall, but for the next 1-3 months, until I figure out my budget, we are safe and secure here. We are hoping for a work trade or some sort of creative living situation so I can afford to be a single mom, going to school, and avoid putting Lilith in a bunch of 'extra' childcare to allow us to be together as much as possible.
Lilith is enrolled in a new school starting next month. Preschool costs are $715 per month for 3 days a week. I realize once I'm in school and/or work, she will most likely need to be in school more that that making that cost go up, but we will save that money for now and cross that bridge when we get to it.
I have registered myself for college and am still waiting to take my assessment tests so I can actually enroll in classes and see what kind of financial aid I can aquire. Depending on financial aid, I will determine what kind of work I can fit into my schedule. I am currently feeling underqualifed and just too fragile and scattered to get a job that pays what I will need it to to pay for all the extra costs of being a single parent living in Sonoma County. I am also open to moving if that is what is needed for us to flourish.
I wish I had a more solid update, but I will commit to keeping you all in the loop as things proceed. I am taking the month of July to figure out school and financial aid.
I greatly appreciate your support. This is a long road, and Lilith and I can't do it alone.
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The latest news from Lacye.
I just enrolled myself in school for the fall. I couldn't even have fathomed that was possible without your support. 'Thank you' doesn't at all do justice to the depths of gratitude I feel. For lack of better words, THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who donated to mygofundme or found another way to support Lilith and I. It's working. <3
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Read a Previous Update

$10,271 of $30,000 goal

Raised by 110 people in 12 months
Created May 23, 2018
Fundraising Team
on behalf of Richard Winkelpleck
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