Monday, March 17, 2008

Recognizing The Good While Experiencing The Bad

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I have had a difficult week.
There are good things about it... we are actually in Oregon right now visiting my brother, Spencer, his wife, Kristi, and their three boys. So, it is great being up here with them. Plus, another brother of mine, Mark, and his wife, Suzy, flew up for the weekend (they fly free since he works for an airline)... so they are here until Tuesday.

So it has been great being here. Aaron Jr loves playing with their three little boys (Spencer, Luke, and Benjamin). We have had a good time up here. They were worried about the fact that they didn't have anything majorly fun planned while we were going to be here, but I was glad... I told them that all I want to do is to just be away from 'my new normal' and that just sitting around their place would be fine with me. Well, we haven't only sat around... we have taken the kids to the park lots of times, gone to the store when items were needed, gone to the church some of the mornings to exercise with a group of women there... just everyday errands that need to be run. So, besides having to referee four little boys ages 1 to 4, it has been pretty relaxing. So, thank you to Spencer and Kristi for letting us come and stay for a little while. And thank you to Mark and Suzy for coming for a visit while we are up here.

As far as why this week has been so difficult... well, the reasons are too personal, so I am not going to share the reasons, they will be written in my journal... but it has been a VERY difficult week for me emotionally because of the reasons that I am not going to mention here. There are just such overwhelming things that come up that I didn't realize or even imagine myself having to deal with WHILE trying to mourn such a huge loss in my life. Things that shouldn't have to be dealt with and things that I knew I would have to deal with, but didn't realize they would be such a big deal until they were actually right in front of me.

One strange thing that happened since I got here was an experience I had with Kristi. I was walking into a room that she was sitting in and as I walked past her, she said something that sounded to me like 'your husband's here'. Those are the words that I heard come into my ears. In those few split seconds after she said that, my heart leaped and my stomach danced as I considered the idea in that short time that it was possible that he was actually here. Really here, not just in spirit. So, after those few split seconds, I realized reality a little and I said 'what?' So, she repeated herself and it was something completely different than what I heard AND she was actually talking to my brother who was in another room. After I told her what I thought she said, I started to ponder that experience and I realized that for me to even entertain the idea that Aaron was here, it was proof that reality has not sunk in for me yet.

I am still able to rid my mind each day of the idea of what reality actually is. Each day I have times when reality will knock the wind out of me and I will start feeling really uncomforable realizing that Aaron has passed away and that he is gone. I can compare these moments each day to mini panic attacks. The only time I ever remember having panic attacks was a couple of times when I was pregnant. There were some stressful things happening at that time and I had a couple of panic attacks. In these panic attacks, my heart raced and I was breathing so hard, but wasn't able to quench my need for air. They didn't last a very long time, but I recognized them as panic attacks. This is what happens for a few seconds each day when reality hits me once again, but on a smaller scale.

I am not saying that things aren't getting any better... we are healing... slowly. But it is just still so hard. I still feel so broken. I still have so many moments each day where I feel so weak and like I just don't have the strength to move, but then I will also have moments where I feel a renewed strength to accomplish things I need to get done. I know that someday, I will look back and see the progress that I have made. But I have never been through this before... so I am trying desperately to navigate my way through this trial. No one can do the navigating for me, I have to do it myself with the Lord to guide me. He has given me the strength and the courage to endure this. And I hope that I can not only endure it, but endure it well.

'...peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high...' -Doctrine and Covenants 121:7-8

It is amazing the people who our Father in Heaven brings into our lives to help us through different trials in life. I am selling my house since Aaron isn't here anymore, so my brother in law asked his friend, Rob, if he could help me out with it because he is a realtor. His friend, Rob, actually lost his wife last year and wanted to do it for free because of all of the kind acts of service people have done for him. So, meeting with him about the house and then communicating through emails and phonecalls about the house, it has been an opportunity for me to talk to someone who has gone through it. It has been extremely comforting for me to be able to say things that go through my mind and have him tell me that he felt the same way. He truly understands what I mean when I tell him the pains I am feeling. Not only is that comforting, but it is comforting seeing how far he has come in that year. Talking to someone who is ahead of me in this whole process... it gives me hope that I might be in a better place emotionally in a year. It is still painful, but he says that time is healing him and that he knows he is better now than he was a year ago. So, being able to talk to someone who understands, that has been a blessing through this difficult time. I can say I am grateful for that.
I am so grateful for the love and support that is shown to us each day. Family, friends, and strangers alike have done so much for us. Just kind words written with love have brought so much comfort and I am so grateful for all of the people who continue to pray for us. I know prayers are being offered in our behalf and I know those prayers are being heard. I am overwhelmingly grateful. Thank you to all.

Along with the difficulties this week, I have also had a couple of very spiritual experiences as well. These, too, have been written in my personal journal and are too personal to share... but I wanted to mention that I have had an experience that I received strength from. I know that our Father in Heaven is mindful of us and He knows what we need even before we do.

And now, if I am truly wanting to recognize the good, I have to mention Aaron Jr. He brings more joy to my life than anything else on earth. He is such a special little boy and I know he is a happy child for so many reasons... but him being so cheerful is what brings a smile to my face so many times each day. I love him.

Well, I didn't realize when I started how long I was going to type, but I felt like I just needed to get some feelings out. I try so hard to be positive in what I say and what I write so that I don't just drag people down, but I also don't want to give the false impression that I am doing better than I really am. I still cry. I still have so many moments of complete devastation and pain. I do still hurt so much. I still pray every day for peace and comfort. I still go through days when I know I am not functioning through strength of my own, but through the strength I am receiving from the Lord. What a blessing He is to each of us.
'I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.' - Philippians 4:13

I love and miss you, Aaron... with all of my heart.

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Clippy Mat said...

leslie: thank you for sharing your deepest feelings. you express them so well. thinking of you today. best wishes, pat :-)

Anonymous said...

Oh Leslie, how I wish I could give you some comfort. Your words just tear at my soul.

I am thinking of you.



Tiffany said...

I found your blog through another blog and have been reading yours for a couple of months. You are such an inspiration. I have gained so much from your example. It is helping me to look past the many trivial things in a marriage that of course do not matter. Please know even strangers pray for you. May the Lord continue to buoy you up and give you strength. What a blessing to have Aaron Jr in your life.

Matt & Shauna said...

HI Leslie,

I loved your post today. Thinking of you this morning!
love, Shauna

Tawnie said...

Leslie, did you really post this at 1 am?
I imagine the pain will last a while but I am glad you are having good experiences among the heartache. You have such a special little boy. Just love him and take good care of him and yourself. You are beautiful. I am so glad you are up there.
I love you!

Anonymous said...

I'm just another stranger that has been extremely touched by your blog. My cousin, a highschool friend of yours, referred me to your blog after I experienced a loss of my own in December. Your honesty and willingness to share some of your thoughts has given me insight and comfort over the past three months. Know that you are blessing other people's lives. I pray for you and for your adorable son.

With Love,


Seesalou said...

i loved the scriptures you used in this posting. but most especially...'I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me'. this brought such comfort to me today. i love you very much. we continue to pray for you in every single prayer uttered in our home.

Karey said...

The blessing of the gospel and our Savior's love is that during the dark times, he sends us a little light and comfort to help us through. I am so glad you're experiencing that, as well as the hard things. You continue to be in our prayers. Be strong and keep your eye on the light. Love you. Give Aaron Jr. a hug and kiss!

Anonymous said...

Hi Leslie. I, too, am a complete stranger who found your blog a few months ago. I just want to you know that you have touched so many lives that you've never come in contact with. I check your blog every day and pray for you and Aaron Jr. Keep strong and God Bless!

Kristi said...

We have loved every moment of your stay here. I am already sad knowing that it is coming to an end this week. You are amazing and strong to endure this pain. I admire your wisdom in recognizing the Lord's hand, reaching out to you each day, blessing you.
We love you.

Mindy said...

I love you, Leslie!

Vicki said...

I always love reading your blog and your words of inspiration, Leslie! You are an amazing person! Love you lots!

The Daly's said...

You are an inspiration to everyone. I found your blog through another blog and love reading your insights. I appreciate your faith, dedication and love for your husband. Keep it up! You are an amazing person. May the Lord continue to bless you and Aaron jr.

Michelle Daly

LL said...

Leslie, I continue to check in on you daily. I'm so glad you're willing to open your heart and share with each of us.
I'm curious about Rob. One of our good friends just lost his wife last year and his name is Rob. BUT, he's not a realtor. Strange coincidence.
I hope the house sale goes smooth, and you are able to enjoy the rest of your time away.
Love to you from far away.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes our biggest guilts we place upon ourselves are the regrets of the "if onlys". Remember that we see things through mortal eyes but Aaron can see things differently because the earthly veil has been lifted. Forgiving ourselves takes time (i'm working on mine still after many years).Our Heavenly Father knows what is in our hearts. He knows of the sadness and remorse that we carry. Remember to continue to cast your burdens upon him. For he will make them light.

Anonymous said...

'What Is This Thing That Men Call Death'
Published: February 3, 2008
'What Is This Thing That Men Call Death'
By President Gordon B. Hinckley

What is this thing that men call death,
This quiet passing in the night?
'Tis not the end, but genesis
Of better worlds and greater light.

O God, touch thou my aching heart,
And calm my troubled, haunting fears.
Let hope and faith, transcendent, pure,
Give strength and peace beyond my tears.

There is no death, but only change,
With recompense for vict'ry won.
The gift of him who loved all men,
The Son of God, the Holy One.
© 2008 Deseret News Publishing Company | All rights reserved

Matchbox Mom said...

What a great post, Leslie! You definately need to share your feelings when you can. its important to let those feelings out.
You truly are blessed. And so are we, for knowing you.
I'm still praying for you night, and day.


Sheye Rosemeyer said...

Dear Leslie
I know so well your description of "mini panic attacks". It's only been in the last few months that mine have become much less frequent.

I know that feeling of not being able to grasp the enormity, feeling like you can't breathe..the fear. It's just so terribly frightening and no-one can help you. It's a very lonely place.

I've had it in restuarants, in my car, in my bed. It's all consuming but it passes, as you know. And then they happen less often and one day it's hard to remember when it last happened.

Remember: you will breathe again and the clouds will clear. (This too shall pass).

Always in my thoughts and prayers.
Love Sheye