Saturday, November 29, 2008

Twelve Months... One Year...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Aaron Sverre Harkness
March 29, 1977 - November 29, 2007

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

I didn't really want to 'celebrate' the day today, but I wanted to remember Aaron today. So, my only plans today were to relax at home with Aaron Jr. and Ode and then to meet people at the cemetery to release balloons like we did at the funeral. Things went as planned for the most part. I invited both of our families and some close friends. Everyone from my family who lives in the area all came, and a few friends came as well. Aaron's family got stuck in traffic coming down the canyon, so they didn't make it. Hopefully next year. Thank you to all of you who made it today and all of you who wanted to be there. You have all been such a huge support to me this past year and I am grateful to every person that has had a role in helping me through this ongoing grieving process. Here are some photos from today...











Each child got to hold a balloon and release it when it was time.




Once again... sending our hearts to heaven...





This photo is to show off Aaron Jr's belt. Aaron bought this belt for Aaron Jr. just a couple of weeks before he passed away. When he brought it home, we decided to save it for his birthday that was coming soon. So, Aaron Jr. wore this belt for the first time just two days after Aaron passed away... on his 2nd birthday. It finally fits him.

I actually lost Aaron's belt buckle a few years ago and had planned to buy him a new one for Christmas last year. They would have matched. I am bummed I never got to buy him a belt buckle to replace the one I lost.


Last weekend, Aaron's parents hosted a gathering to have Aaron's closest friends come over for dinner and memories. I was at Wal-Mart one day and saw these shirts. I couldn't pass them by. I bought the one that says 'My Dad is the Man' so that Aaron Jr. could wear it to the gathering of friends. It was so cute. The one that says 'Mommy's Little Hero' was going to be what he wore today at the cemetery, but I forgot to put it on him this morning. So, he has been wearing it all evening instead. The point of this shirt is self explanitory... but I will go ahead a say something about it anyway.

Aaron Jr. has TRULY been my hero this year. I truly don't know how things would have gone if he weren't here. He was the reason I even got out of bed for those first several months. Some days, he is still the reason I get out of bed. He has made me smile and laugh at times when I didn't think there was a smile or laugh left inside of me. He is a miracle and a blessing in my life and I am so grateful for My Little Hero.
My other Hero has been the Lord. I have learned more this year about relying on the Lord than I have learned throughout the rest of my life. The quote by Abraham Lincoln on the side of my blog is more true than I ever realized. It says:
'I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.'
The Lord truly HAS sustained me.
'Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee.' -Psalms 55:22
This year, I have felt more out of place than I have ever felt in my life. I know that I belong here as Aaron Jr's mom, but as far as feeling like I had a place anywhere else, it is just really difficult knowing where I belong if Aaron isn't here beside me. I have felt lost and I have had a hard time knowing who I was anymore without my partner, the other half of me. When Aaron passed away, half of me, an entire 50 % of me passed away with him. Then there was the part of me that tried to take care of him as a wife takes care of a husband. I didn't have Aaron to take care of anymore. Making dinner, cleaning the house... the part of me that loved being a wife felt completely lost. I just didn't feel like I had a place anymore. .I adored being a wife. The wife inside of me had no one to be a wife to anymore... here. I don't know if that all makes sense.

When Aaron's favorite singer, Chris LeDoux, passed away on March 9, 2005, Aaron was devastated. This photo was taken right around that same day. He really looked up to this man. On the one year anniversary of Chris LeDoux's death, Aaron sent a text to me and I think to a lot of his friends that said, 'God bless Chris LeDoux. One year today'. I have to admit... I was very tempted to do that today. I still have the text on my phone and it brings a smile to my face when I read it.

I have been thinking a lot lately about what to call today. When you are born, you have a birthday, when you get married, you have an anniversary... when you die, I just don't know what to call November 29, 2007. All year, that date has been kind of life a swear word to me. When I hear of someone going through a really tough time with something, in my mind, I kind of refer to it as 'their November 29th'.

My November 29th was, of course, the most painful and horrific day of my life. I still can't fully believe that this is all real... that Aaron is really gone. It is still so surreal to me.

I have thought a lot about that last day of Aaron's life today. We released the balloons today just before 4:00 pm because that is the time that he passed away. I have never written down what happened that day. It has always been too painful to imagine writing it down, but I am going to write out some of it right now. That afternoon, I took Aaron Jr. to his 2 year well check at the doctor's office. After it was over, I wanted to stop at Aaron's parents house where Aaron was sleeping and tell him how tall Aaron Jr. was and how much he weighed, but he hadn't been feeling well for over a week and hadn't slept for a few days, so I decided to let him sleep and just go ahead and go to my parents house that was just a couple of blocks away from where he was sleeping. I got to my parents house right about 3:00 pm and put Aaron Jr down for a nap. I was watching a little TV and just before 4:00, I heard an ambulance go past my parents house. Something felt a little off, but I brushed it aside assuming it was someone who rolled their car while four wheeling in the mountains. That happens a lot. Well, a minute later, another ambulance went by, and I felt sick to my stomach, but didn't want to think it was Aaron. Well, when the third emergency vehicle went past, my mom ran and and told my dad that they should go and see what is going on. They said they would let me know. I didn't want to leave Aaron Jr. there alone while he was napping. As soon as they walked out the door, I knew they would be back quickly to tell me that the ambulances were at the Harkness home. It happened. About 30 seconds after they left, my mom ran into the door and told me that I needed to go with Dad right now and see what is going on. I ran out the door feeling sick to my stomach and feeling the worst panic I had ever felt in my life. We rushed to the Harkness home and I ran inside. I ran up the stairs to where Aaron had been sleeping to find Aaron's parents standing in the hall with their arms around each other's shoulders. They looked shocked and horrified and as I rushed past them, I asked 'what is going on'? Just after I passed them, I got to the bedroom door where they were working on Aaron just inside on the floor. I had never seen anything like it. They were being so rough as they tried to save his life. I stood there in shock and feeling like my worst nightmare was transpiring right there in front of my eyes. I broke down and just didn't know what to do. I ran around the corner into the bathroom and put my head against the wall and just sobbed. I overheard someone say that it wasn't looking good, but they were going to take Aaron in the ambulance and continue trying to save him. As they took him on a stretcher down the stairs and out the door, I knew in my head that it was over. I felt the same way that I felt when I was in the car accident with my brother. As they took me and my other siblings away from the accident scene that day, I knew in my head that my brother was dead, but my heart didn't want to believe it... so my heart won the battle. I fully believed that he would be okay. It wasn't until my sister came into my hospital room the next day and told me that Bruce had passed away that I knew he was gone. It came as a shock because I wanted him to be okay. That is what happened on November 29th last year. When they drove away in the ambulance, my head knew Aaron was dead, but my heart was breaking and hurting so badly, so I forced myself to believe that he was going to be okay. We got to the hospital and sat in the waiting room for just a few minutes before they came in and said that there was nothing more they could do and that he was gone. I was shocked and horrified. I had never been that scared and I had never hurt so badly in my whole life. My heart literally felt like it was breaking into a million pieces. It hurt emotionally, but it also hurt physically. I never knew that a broken heart could hurt physically. I know now.

When they let us go into his room to see him, I just sat there holding his hand. I held his left hand. The hand that he had written his 'to do list' on the night before. The list was there and I just sat there sobbing and not knowing what to do next. As we sat there, I told his mom, 'we needed more time.' After a few minutes, his mom looked at me and said 'He has probably met Bruce by now.' In my mind, I was grateful that there were people on the other side that would have been waiting for Aaron. People he loved and people who loved him.
My world had just come crashing down around me and I felt like there was no way I would ever survive that heartache and pain.

That next few days were a blur. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep. I had no desire to do anything or be anywhere. I wanted to crawl into a hole and just wither away and die. The only thing that kept me going those days was Aaron Jr. He needed me and he didn't understand the nightmare that was our lives. I had to be there for him.

The room that Aaron passed away in at his parents house was the room that we usually stayed in when we slept over there. To this day, I have still not been able to walk into that room. It has been a whole year and I can't bring myself to walk through the door. I have stood right outside and looked in, but I can't walk in.
The shock and horror of that day still haunts me. I still go through the panic and the fear. Today, as I tortured myself and watched a home video of the night Aaron Jr. was born... I had a little panic attack not knowing what I was going to do without Aaron here. It still happens often. I am still scared of living without Aaron.

My November 29th will forever be a devastating and painful day. We didn't have enough time together here in this life. We didn't get to fulfill all of our dreams together. There are so many thing left undone and so many things left unsaid. I still talk to Aaron every night and I pray that he is listening. All I ever wanted was to make Aaron happy and to continue to grow together in our marriage to achieve the happiness that comes from a lifetime of memories. I have to say... I feel SO proud to be Aaron's wife. I adore him and I am so grateful we were brought together. I am so blessed.

I love and miss him with all of my heart. His death has left a hole in my heart that will never be filled... until we meet again.


November 2007 - Leslie-Aaron Jr-Aaron


Eternally yours, Aaron... and loving you always...

* * *

42 comments:

Tabitha said...

Leslie ~ I have no words ~ just tears and an ache in my heart for you.
Sending all my love and thinking and praying for you.
Love and hugs Tabitha XXXX

dani said...

may love and prayers embrace you, leslie...
love,
dani

Jen said...

Leslie~
Tears are rolling down my face as I read this post.

Shawn died in a very similar way and I to saw the Dr's working on him for a few moments. I remember thinking be careful you are going to hurt him.

I will share more with you in an email. Please know that I was thinking about you yesterday.

Again I'm so sorry that we both have to go through this.

Marc and Megan said...

Leslie - My heart aches so much for you, for this nightmare you are living. I'm sorry for the images that still produce feelings of panic and fear. I can only imagine what it must be like for you during this time. I pray that the Lord will wrap you in His arms in a very real way. Still thinking of and praying for you....

Michelle said...

Leslie Thank you for sharing your inner most feelings. My heart is aching for you right now. I have no comprehension of what you are going through right now and all I do know is that I can send you my thoughts and prayers. May the Lord continue to bless you and your "Little hero".

Sarah said...

Thank you. I do love that you are continuing on since Aaron would want you to live like you did when he was physically here. I love that you celebrated with balloons. I don't feel it's a day to mourn though I can see every reason to, but more of a time to celebrate all he did. He is here, I know it.

Praying for you always!
~Sarah

cucciolo25 said...

We love you Leslie. We sure miss Aaron.

Spencer

Karey said...

It is so sad to think of the tragedy of that day. I'm so sad we couldn't be there today for the memorial at the cemetery. I was thinking of you and praying for you throughout the day. We love you and we love and miss Aaron. Karey

Seesalou said...

that was hard to read let alone how it must have felt to write it. none of us will forget that day, les. there's an article in the dec. ensign 'consecrate thy performance'. elder maxwell talks about using stepping stones through our journey in this life. this line made me think of you:

"Granted, the stepping-stones take us into new territory which we may be very reluctant to explore. Hence, the successful users of the stepping-stones are powerful motivators for the rest of us. We usually pay more attention to those we quietly admire."

you are a powerful example of endurance and you have a great potential in sharing your light with the world. i love you very much.

Momza said...

Leslie, dear sister,
Thank you for opening your heart to so many of us who are looking from the outside in...your example is light that we appreciate so very much.
I am reminded of a poem by Edgar Guest:

"I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day;

I'd rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way.

The eye's a better pupil and more willing than the ear,

Fine counsel is confusing, but example's always clear;

And the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds,

For to see good put to action is what everybody needs.
I soon can learn to do it if you'll let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lecture you deliver may be very wise and true,

But I'd rather get my lessons by observing what you do;

For I might misunderstand you and the high advice you give,

but there's no misunderstanding how you act andhow you live."

Your Example is Shining.

Rebecca_Adams said...

Leslie,
I haven't made many comments on your blog because I just didn't know what to say. I wanted to let you know that I do read your blog, though. I think about you all the time and what you're going through. Just like many others, I had tears in my eyes as I read this post, but it just makes me SO happy to know that you and Aaron and Aaron Jr. will one day be together again for eternity! It will be a joyous reunion for you! You will get to experience lots of things in the next life together, so there's a lot that you have to look forward to! What a blessing to have the knowledge we have about the Gospel! It is what keeps me going when I have bad days. The Lord is mindful of us. I can tell that you've been really strong through all of this. Keep being strong! Thanks for your sweet spirit! I love you!

~Rebecca

Brenda said...

I'm thinking of you and praying for you!

LL said...

love you Leslie!!!
that was so emotional to read, I can't imagine living it.
thank you again and again for sharing your heart.
you've touched so many lives~

Cloward Family said...

I am so sorry for your huge loss. My heart aches for what you are going through. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

You dont know me but i came across your blog through a friends, I am so sorry to hear about your husband from reading he sounds like a wonderful husband and daddy, I also have lost someone very close to me and NO words can ever comfort that pain, But there is a song that i have framed and when i start missing them I read the words to the song, This song and knowing because of out temple marriage I will one day see the ones that I love and Miss I hope that this song helps you. Again I am sorry for your loss

Escape Club, I'll be There

Over Mountains
Over Trees
Over Oceans
Over Seas
Across the desert
I'll be there

In a whisper on the wind
On the smile of a new friend
Just think of me
And I'll be there

Don't be afraid, oh my love
I'll be watching you from above
And I'd give all the world tonight,
To be with you
Because I'm on your side,
And I still care
I may have died,
But I've gone nowhere

Just think of me,
And I'll be there

On the edge of a waking dream
Over Rivers
Over Streams
Through Wind and Rain
I'll be there

Across the wide and open sky
Thousands of miles I'd fly
To be with you
I'll be there

Don't be afraid, oh my love
I'll be watching you from above
And I'd give all the world tonight,
To be with you
Because I'm on your side,
And I still care
I may have died,
But I've gone nowhere

Just think of me,
And I'll be there

In the breath of a wind that sighs
Oh, there's no need to cry

Just think of me,
And I'll be there

Don't be afraid, oh my love
I'll be watching you from above
And I'd give all the world tonight,
To be with you
Because I'm on your side,
And I still care
I may have died,
But I've gone nowhere

Just think of me,
And I'll be there

Just think of me,
And I'll be there

Think of me...
And I'll be there...

Kylee1034@hotmail.com

Mindy said...

Leslie, I don't know what to say besides that I love you.

Anonymous said...

Love to you Leslie.

Jane

Becky Jones said...

I read your blog but don't ever comment. I just wanted you to know that I think of you often and pray for you, just as if you were my sister. I've especially thought about you and prayed for you this past week, knowing that it would be a hard one for you. You are wonderful!

Hollie said...

I pray that God will wrap you with his love tonight and help you to feel Aaron's spirit. Please know that you are in my prayers...

Natalie said...

My heart is with you. Thank you, again, for letting us into your life. xoxo

Anonymous said...

Leslie,
I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. I hope it helps you to know that so many people care about your wellbeing.
I am sorry about the hurt you are enduring.
I am thankfull you have Aaron Jr. to be your light in dark places.
Rita

Jennifer said...

Leslie,
I want to tell you how very sorry I am for your loss! You are an incredible woman of faith and a wonderful Mommy! I am sure that one day Aaron Jr. will know that your are HIS hero too! I am continuing to keep you in my prayers.

Jennifer

Natalie said...

I've never commented before but wanted you to know that from a total stranger I admire you so much for your strength and example. My heart aches for you. I think of you almost daily, and cry for a complete stranger every time I read your blog. I've read every single post and so many things you have said are imprinted in my mind. My prayers are with you, may God bless you and Aaron Jr.

Brandy said...

It's amazing to me how much I can see Aaron Jr. being your 'little hero' now and how much I know that you'll be his 'hero' later on when he understands all of this. He will know and try to understand how you made it through all of this without him being scarred for life. You are such a wonderful mother, Leslie. The balloon send off was impressive and a great idea to involve the kids in something so powerful (and symbolic). Again, I am sorry for your heartache. I wish I could do something, anything, for you. I've wanted to ask so many times what exactly happened with Aaron, but knew it was inappropriate and irrelevant. Thank you for touching base on it some. Although, it just made me ache for you more. To know that you were that close to him and couldn't do a thing for him. What an awful thing for you to have to witness and go through. You continue to amaze me with your strength. Much love.

Brooke said...

Leslie,

Your posts never fail to bring tears to my eyes. I am so sorry for the nightmare you have been living. I am so happy that you have Aaron Jr. with you to carry on in this journey. I teach Relief Society, and interwoven through some of my lessons, I have shared some of your story...some of your life lessons. You have a wonderful story to tell Leslie. You have the wisdom and life experience that no one our age should ever have to experience. Thank you for choosing to share... we are all sitting at your feet learning, striving to learn from you and from your story. Thank you for sharing. You are such a talented writer. You really should consider writing a book. I'll be the first in line to buy a copy.

Tawnie said...

Leslie. Thank you for sharing this. It's beautiful. You are beautiful. You have grown and matured so much this last year. You are doing great. I love to see you happy and smiling. I am glad you have the knowledge you have. Love you so much.

Autumn Kimball said...

Leslie-
I am sure you thought you would of never gottn through a day with out Aaron and to see that you have lived a year (a full year..)

There is power in each day that you choose to live through. I am proud of you and To say Aaron is , is a deep understatement.

I know the pictures are fewer now that a year has past. I know the photos you do have of Aaron are some of your most precious things.

I am so sorry about the haunting pain and the fact that everyones life seem to continue as if nothing has happened. Leaving you feeling out of place.

This is going to be the begining of a new year which you get to write..don't give up on finding more purpose and potentialy feeling as if you belong. I know to say you do belong falls on deaf ears.

So instead I am going to say you are supported and connected to all of us.

My last thought is.. the more love and forgivness one gives out the more you get back. And to forget thy self your promised..promised you will find yourself.

be patient. Love from us
Autumn

Autumn Kimball said...

Leslie-
I am sure you thought you would of never gottn through a day with out Aaron and to see that you have lived a year (a full year..)

There is power in each day that you choose to live through. I am proud of you and To say Aaron is , is a deep understatement.

I know the pictures are fewer now that a year has past. I know the photos you do have of Aaron are some of your most precious things.

I am so sorry about the haunting pain and the fact that everyones life seem to continue as if nothing has happened. Leaving you feeling out of place.

This is going to be the begining of a new year which you get to write..don't give up on finding more purpose and potentialy feeling as if you belong. I know to say you do belong falls on deaf ears.

So instead I am going to say you are supported and connected to all of us.

My last thought is.. the more love and forgivness one gives out the more you get back. And to forget thy self your promised..promised you will find yourself.

be patient. Love from us
Autumn

Anonymous said...

Leslie
I've read your blog over and over. I cant help but feel more grateful for what I have when I see what all you have lost. Your blogs are an inspiration to us all. The perspective you have given me is unmeasurable, I'm more appreciative for everyday that my family is here together. You've changed my perspective of what life is all about and for that I'm grateful for the time and emotion you put into your blog. Your son is so lucky to have you and this blog will be a great way for him to get to know his father and to see how you felt about his daddy. What a precious gift.
Jenny

P.S. I'm grateful that you finally had the strengh to talk about how Aaron died. Those of us who dont know you personally have been very curious as to what would take a young man away. Yet didnt want to intrude on your greving process. I'm going to reach out on a limb here and ask if you ever found out what made him sick?
Sorry for being noisy,Just curious.
Jen

Yvonne S. said...

Leslie, you are constantly in my thoughts and although I don't post very often I think of you all the time. I know what it feels like to lose someone close but I can't imagine the grief you must feel having lost your eternal companion. Just remember you will see him again one day and the days you spend without him will seem like a speck of time once you do see him again. I love you and I love your strength in your writing. You are an inspiration, hang in there!!! Love, Yvonne

Anonymous said...

Hi Leslie,
I grieve with you, sister. My Family suffered a great loss when several members of our family were killed in a airplane accident. It has been almost 30 years. We celebrate every year by having a surviver party. We mark the day by celebrating that we all survived such a great loss. I am keeping you in my prayer. I pray that your grief will be swept away by Christ.

Allred Mom said...

Leslie,
Thinking of your and hoping the prayers being said in your behalf are bringing the comfort you need to help you make it through each day!

Joann said...

What a lot of love you have from this blog, Leslie. This post was beautiful. You have come such a long way, even if sometimes it doesn't feel like you have. Aaron is there. He always will be. And when he seems too far away, remember that we are ALL here to lift you up to him. I love you SO much Leslie. You are stonger than you know!

Clippy Mat said...

Leslie:
You have taken many of us on your journey this past year and we feel that we have come to know you and your husband and your lovely little boy. Your life's lessons have been an inspiration to many, many other people.
Your faith is something that is solid and strong and very true.
Perhaps learning about your life will help others who will surely have to face this kind of pain themselves one day in one way or another. I will remember your strength and your faith always.
God Bless you,
Pat :-))

Ahleen/Thomas said...

Thinking of you, and your eternal anniversary this week...I love you and know your sweet Aaron is
an Angel who's looking over you and your's. Thank you for sharing your sweet memories.

Patty

Rhitzclan said...

Ell-

My heart is still breaking for you. And I know that I am just one of many that feel this same way. Thank you for being strong and continuing to live and be an example to the rest of us. You are so loved.

Love- Cee

Rhitzclan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt and Shauna said...

I love you Leslie! I have been thinking about you all month - knowing that this anniversary was coming up. I continue to pray for you and little Aaron Jr. All my love, Shauna

Tammy said...

Leslie,

You made it. One year. It's a bittersweet anniversary--on one hand, it marks the most horrible day of your life. On the other hand, you have survived the past year, which is definitely the worst. As someone your age who lost a husband a year ago, I feel your pain (although I'd never say "I know how you feel"--we both know that's not true). You are always in my prayers.

Andrea said...

Dearest Leslie,
I'm sorry I haven't written in awhile. Though I hardly know you, I have always felt God's love for you. As I read your blog I see your unwavering faith and testimony. I see a strong woman determined to make the best of what God has given her, even the hard things. I'm sorry for not writing to you earlier, but I want you to know that I always think of and pray for you, and have especially the last month. I knew that day was coming and I just prayed that you would make it through, just like you have every other day this last year. You are in many thoughts and prayers. I second an author above on thanking you for sharing your story. What a strong thing to do. While it brings many tears, it also brings a lot of perspective, and I'm grateful to know more about you. I had been thinking of you so much and on Saturday my husband and I went to the Festival of Trees...all of a sudden I saw Aaron's. I just sobbed. It was beautiful what you wrote for the sign was the sweetest thing. You are truly an amazing woman. I'm so sorry for this burden that you carry...I can't imagine a harder thing. While nobody can make it go away, I hope the continued love, support, and prayers are of some help and comfort to you. What a great example you are. God bless you.
Love, Andrea Dansie

kathryn_m said...

Leslie, sending warm thoughts and loving prayers to you & Aaron Jr. on these dark, sad days.

Try to remember that it's always darkest before the dawn.

I pray that you are gifted with Aaron's undeniable presence and that all of your sweet memories sustain you.

With love from my home to yours...

kathryn_m

Kathryn_m said...

During this time of celebrating the birth of our Savior, I wish you peace & comfort. Allow the love & support of your family to cradle you during this painful time of you lives.

May the Spirit fill you with strength & a renewed hope for the up-coming year.

I hope it helps to know that others care and are thinking about you & Aaron Jr.

My heart is heavy for you, Leslie.

Can you even imagine the wonder of Christmas in Heaven?

Love,
kathryn_m