Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gratitude

* * * * * *
...the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord...
-Job 1:21



As I begin writing this post, I am feeling like it is one of the more difficult ones to write. Thanksgiving last year was our final holiday with Aaron here with us. He was struggling healthwise and as I look at this photo that was taken on Thanksgiving last year, I am just so torn apart knowing that it was the day which began our final week with Aaron here. I am falling apart tonight. It is the middle of the night and Thanksgiving is approaching way too quickly. This photo would come to be the last photo ever taken of our family and also the last photo every taken of Aaron. As I sit here struggling to even breathe tonight with tears filling up my eyes and streaming down my cheeks, I am filled with so many painful emotions. This month has been rough. I knew it would be, but this is even rougher than I thought it would be.

I was originally going to just write a few things that I am grateful for and leave it at that, but I am feeling way too much right now. I can't leave it at that. I had to let some of this out.

I am struggling to even put any thoughts together, so I will just put it into some pretty simple words that I think people will understand... this sucks.

I do want to share my gratitude today though. Even as I sit here sobbing, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for what has been given to me. Even though I feel such a huge and devastating blow at having lost my best friend and husband, Aaron... I can't think of that without also thinking about the gift that has been given to me... our son, Aaron Jr. He is truly a gift and a treasure in my life. The degree of pain I feel at having lost Aaron, I feel that degree of joy at having been given Aaron Jr.
Joy and Pain seem like such opposite emotions, so it is strange that I have felt both of them so intensely at the same time throughout this last year.

* I am grateful for my husband, Aaron.
* I am grateful for the brilliant memories I have with him to reflect on throughout my life.
* I am grateful for Aaron Jr. and the JOY he brings to our home.
* I am grateful for our families and the love and support they give to us.
* I am grateful for our friends and the love and support they give to us.
* I am grateful for people who have reached out to us throughout this nightmare year.
* I am grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and the peace and comfort it has brought to me thoughout my life, but especially this last year.
* I am grateful for the scriptures and the strength they bring me.
* I am grateful for Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice. I am grateful for what He went through so that He could know the pain and hearache I am going through. I am grateful for His love and the peace and comfort He brings to me.
* I am grateful for my Father in Heaven. I am grateful to know who I am and where I come from. I am grateful to be a daughter of a loving God. He truly is our Father.
* I am grateful for the principle of tithing. By paying our tithing this year, we have been greatly blessed to be able to meet our needs.
* I am grateful for cameras. I have to say, it brings me much joy and happiness to be able to look back through the thousands of photos that I took of Aaron. Those photos help to keep his memories alive so that Aaron Jr. can remember his father.
* I am grateful for our lives together. I am grateful for the life I was able to share with Aaron and the life we were able to help bring into this world to join our family. Aaron Jr. brought us much joy together and will continue to bring much joy until we are together again.

I love you, my sweet Aaron. I am grateful to you and for you...

* * *

28 comments:

LL said...

I'm sorry you're hurting. I'm sorry you have this to carry.
I am impressed with your Thankful list. Good for you, to be able to recognize so many blessings even though you're struggling.
I pray that you'll find comfort today with those you love and you'll feel Aaron close to you.
Thinking of you and praying for you!
Much love~

kathryn said...

Thinking of you on this day of thanksgiving, Leslie & Aaron Jr.

May your memories sustain you and Heavenly Father bless and comfort you.

Much love & prayers to you.

Tawnie said...

You are wonderful Leslie. Thank you for sharing your thankful list. We will be praying for you these next couple of days.
Love you.

Kristi said...

We wish so much that we could be there with you at this difficult time. I love that you are able to have gratitude during this time when most would not.
We love you and will keep you in our prayers.
Happy Thanksgiving - We are thankful for you and your example.

Seesalou said...

Thanks for showing gratitude all year long even throughout your grief. You have been an example of being 'thankful in ALL things'. We love you.

Anonymous said...

I truely believe God led me to your blog to open my eyes. This year has been such a struggle financially and tensions run high in our family at times. You are a HUGE inspiration to me and have taught me to lean on the power of prayer. I am truely grateful to you for all the things you have shown me through the love you continue to share with your husband and son. Happy Thanksgiving and I will be praying for you at this difficult time. Just know you are touching many lives by your words even though they are painful at times.

Marc and Megan said...

Leslie, I am so sorry for all that you've been through. It is something I don't think I could survive, let alone go through it with the faith and grace that you've shown. I'm praying for you today and in the coming days, as well. I pray that our Father will shower you with an abundance of His love, that you'll feel Aaron close to you and know without a doubt how much he dearly loves you. I just know he must be so proud of you as he watches how you've dealt with this tragedy. He definitely has major bragging rights. You have such a beautiful soul. Love and hugs, Megan

cynphil6 said...

I am glad you felt like posting.
MANY, MANY, MANY thoughts and prayers are with you.
You are right. It sucks.
One of the best places I know to
"see the end from the beginning", is the temple. I hope Aaron Jr. gives you an extra juicy kiss and hug today!
xoxo

cynphil6 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ginny said...

Leslie,

I happened on your blog the beginning of this year and have read and appreciated your posts since then more than I can express. You constantly remind me to cherish every minute, find strength and grace through tough times, and maybe most influentially, you have inspired me to take more pictures of my husband (who really dislikes having his picture taken) with me and our kids. I am so grateful for the better record I have because of that inspiration. My thoughts and prayers are with you this week in particular. Thank you so much for sharing your journey, your love, your sorrow and pain, and your faith and perspective.

Tabitha said...

Dear Leslie ~
I am thankful that I found you through your blog ~ you are a wonderful woman!!
I am thinking of you through this hard week ~ and sending love and prayers to you and Aaron Jnr.
Take care,
Love and big hugs Tabitha XXXX

Anonymous said...

Leslie,
I am so thankful that I found your blog! I am thankful that you share so much with us. You have inspried me to be a much better wife and mother! I what you and Aaron Jr. to know that you I pray for you daily. I hope that the pain will lessnes.

Natalie said...

Thinking of you more today than ever. Thank you. You've done more for all of us reading that you will ever know.

Jennifer said...

Thinking of you today....Still praying for you!

Jen

dani said...

dear sweet leslie,
i just want you to know that i have had you in my thoughts and prayers today...
much love,
dani

Allred Mom said...

Leslie,
May you feel the love and support of those of us who have cried with you, even though we have never officially met face to face. I am glad that you use your blog to let go of the deep emotion, pain, heartache as well as the joy that you have gained through this earthly experience. You are an amazing person who has let the Savior carry you as you have relied on Him this past year. It is okay to feel that this whole experience sucks. The Lord knows your heart and soul and He also knows the bond that you have with Aaron as you are bound for eternity. Hugs to you. May you find the comfort you need to continue through these next few days as so many memories fill your heart. Rachel

Brandy said...

You are in my heart. I am so sorry that I can't make your pain diminish.
Brandy

A Happy, Humble Home said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Leslie, I lost my husband almost six years ago. Sometimes it seems like just yesterday that he was here, sometimes it feels like a lifetime ago. I have four young children and they miss their dad desperately, each in their own way.

I can tell you that it gets easier. I've been there...when it hurt just to breathe, when it hurt to be awake and conscious. For awhile it seemed I couldn't escape my grief. My kids bounced back much more quickly, but I've really struggled. I finally learned to be patient with myself as I went through the stages of grief and allow myself to just go with the flow of my emotions instead of fighting them. Otherwise I was numb.

Somehow things began to look better, and now so many parts of me have healed. I'm glad to see that you've stayed close to the Lord, especially through prayers and scripture study. No one can help you the way He can. You have strong faith, and because of that I know you'll be okay. Both you and Aaron Jr. will.

Lots of love ~

violetposy said...

I know nothing that any of us can say will make your next few days any easier. But please know there are prayers and thoughts from people who have read your story, even those of us who are far away and don't know you or lovely little Aaron Jr personally. I wish you nothing but love and good wishes for the coming days.

Anonymous said...

You're right. It does suck. Big time.

When the pain hits the hardest, just reach for the joy and give him a huge cuddle.

Sending love your way, Leslie.

Jane

Jen said...

Leslie~
Again so sorry that you have to go through this. So sorry that we as young widows have to go through this. It sucks and I hate it! I still don't understand why and I don't know if I ever will.

I wanted to thank you for the post. I to wrote a post of things that I was thankful for this year as well. Even thought I feel like my whole world was taken from me I still have so much to be thankful for.

Thank you for the post and please know that I will be thinking about you and Aaron Jr.

The Kimball Herd said...

Leslie-

We are standing beside as i Aaron walk tall we love you. You will get through this cleve unto those that loved him here on earth and you will feel love also.

Autumn

Tabitha said...

Leslie ~ just popped over to let you know that I am thinking of you today ~ I know it will be the hardest day for you.
Love and big hugs my friend XXXX

cynphil6 said...

Leslie,
Just wanted to let you know that
extra prayers and love are being sent your way today.

Mindy said...

Leslie, I've been thinking of you today. I love you.

Christine said...

hey leslie...well i can imagine you've not been able to sleep much lately...your last 2 posts have left me speechless and tear-stained...my heart just aches for you right now. Althought I have no idea how you feel having lost a spouse i know those panic attic feelings when you can't breathe becuase you miss someone so much and just can't believe they were taken away...I have had endless nights holding my mom's picture in my hands and sobbing for hours but I have also had so many other wonderful nights when i smile up at the ceiling and blow her a kiss goodnight. I know with time your heart will begin to be healed but being in the thick of it right now is so incredibly hard that all i can say is I love you and pray for you. I don't mean to give you any advice...i guess every time i think of you I think of my mom and can't help but think back to those emotions and I dont mean to make our situations sound the same b/c of course they are not but I just really feel so much love and admiration for you and pray that you can have the spirit to carry you through these times. I actually just sat in bed an hour ago and you came in my mind as I wasn't able to sleep...I said a little prayer that I could fall asleep and that you could be comforted. When i still wasn't sleeping i thought i would just get up and check my email at least and after doing that I started reading the nie-nie- recovery blog about the girl from AZ who was burned...and then i just saw your comment and thought it was all kind of a coincidence that we're both up...sorry this is so long but i guess I just want to say that I really do pray for your well-being and that you can feel Aaron with you at this time...I know he is watching you from above and so grateful for what you are doing to raise Aaron jr....you are an incredible mother and I am so glad you have aaron jr. to keep you going. I really admire you for expressing your thoughts here on your blog and allowing others to feel of your loss... becuase that is all part of the healing process to let your emotions out and you help each of us to try and be a little better with your example. I know that Aaron is so proud of the way you are continuting on and the Lord is too. I love you sweetie and grateful for the brief time I got to know you and for the wonderful spirit you have about you. OH and just thought I'd tell you that you look so pretty in those pictures with your hair straight like that and the cute red coat...I'm sure Aaron was looking down and smileing...Well take care and hopefully you can get some sleep. Love,
Christine I.

Jen said...

I am no one special, just someone who is just now learning how to blog. My sister sent me your blog. My heart is breaking for you, I wish so badly I could say something that would relieve your pain. All I can say is, May God preserve your daily breathe for you and your baby boy. May you find peace in the knowledge of eternal life. I will pray for you with all my heart.