Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sweet Is The Peace

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Today, we attended the funeral of my Uncle David.

It was a physically, spiritually, and emotionally taxing day.
It was a day filled with sorrow, grief, sadness, love, gratitude, and peace.

It is late and I just crawled into bed and began reflecting on the day we have had and I began to cry. My heart hurts.

I knew I needed an outlet for my thoughts and feelings from today because I can not stop crying.

What keeps going through my head today is a song. A song that brought such peace to my Uncle David at a time in his life when he was feeling so down... the week he was diagnosed with cancer. The congregation sang it today at the funeral. Here is the first verse...

'Sweet is the peace the gospel brings
To seeking minds and true.
With light refulgent on its wings,
It clears the human view.'

Each time in our lives when we lose someone we love, it brings such emotion and sorrow to the surface. It is like a fresh wound has been opened up right where the old one was trying to heal and we begin another healing process.

As the song states... I am so grateful for the sweet peace that the gospel brings to my life... peace in knowing that we CAN turn to the Savior to heal our aching hearts, peace in knowing that death is not the end... that we will have the privilege and blessing of seeing our loved ones again.

What sweeter peace can there be on days such as these?

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Here is the obituary of my Uncle David... truly a great and loving man. We sure love him.

David Lee Higginson

1943 ~ 2011

Our Father in Heaven chose Easter Sunday to call our dear husband, father, and grandfather home. He passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family from the effects of cancer.

David was born October 3, 1943 in Nampa, Idaho to John Detton and Merle Harris Higginson.

He was a valiant member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and served a mission to New Zealand from 1962-64. He had a deep faith in his Savior, Jesus Christ and shared his love for Christ with his family and countless others.

While attending BYU, he met and married his sweetheart, Louise Lewis. They were sealed for time and all eternity on June 2, 1967 in the Salt Lake Temple.

Music was the essence of his life. He was an amazing choir and orchestra teacher in Utah and Idaho, a musician, songwriter, and arranger. His children's treasured memory is singing around the piano on Sunday evenings. He was the creator of The Professional Chord System and touched the lives of so many people as he traveled around the country to share his gift.

He is survived by his wife, Louise and 9 children, David (Heidi), Michael (Marci), Amy (Brenden) Clements, Rebekah (Jim) Edwards, Brian (Lisa), Julie, Linda (Danny) Strauss, Robert, and Jared.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Uncle David

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This is my Uncle David, he is my Dad's younger brother.

Two days ago, on Easter Sunday, while we were celebrating Christ's victory over death, my Uncle David passed away. It was a bitter sweet day as we remembered what our Savior did for all of us and then as our Uncle left this life sooner than any of us expected. He was 67 years old.

Uncle David was the most talented person I have ever known when it came to the world of music. Not only was he a singer, a songwriter, but he was a master on the piano and other musical instruments. He was the creator of The Professional Chord System, which teaches even beginners how to play the piano using the chord method.

Uncle David has always been very witty as well. No matter what, Uncle David could make you laugh while also making you feel important and while sharing words of wisdom.

He is one of my Dad's brothers, but has also always been a great friend to him as well. They have always been really close.

Uncle David and his wife, Aunt Louise had just completed serving a one year mission at the Missionary Training Center and were preparing to serve a full time mission.

In January, he went in to the doctor because of a cough that had been bothering him. At the doctor, they found a tumor in his kidney, which was soon removed. Up until a couple of days before he passed away, he still seemed healthy and all of us thought he would still be with us for months, if not years.

We were all surprised to find out that he had taken a turn for the worse last Saturday. It felt a little urgent that if we wanted to see him again, we needed to go that day. So some of us had the opportunity to visit him last Saturday and tell him how much we love him. Even that day when he was in so much pain, you could tell that he was still so aware and mindful of those he loves. As I held his hand and made sure he knew it was me, he asked me, "Are you having hope and JOY?" I told him that I was and told him that I love him. I don't know if he asked that question to anyone else that day, I didn't hear him ask it... but when he asked me that I could feel that he cared and truly does want me to have hope and JOY.

The next day, Easter Sunday, we got the phone call letting us know that Uncle David had passed away peacefully surrounded by his family.

I know what it is like to lose a friend, a grandparent, a brother, and even a husband, but I do not know yet what it is like to lose a parent... and my heart is breaking for my Aunt and my cousins.

Of course losing someone close always makes us want to hold our loved ones a little closer and share our love for them a little more freely.

Uncle David is sorely missed already and we love him so much.
We love their family and we pray for them and for all who are grieving at this time.

Sidenote: Today, April 26th, is the anniversary of my brother Bruce's death. We are remembering and missing him so much today. It is comforting to know that Uncle David and Bruce have had a JOYous reunion. And I will end here because I can't stop crying... :) We all know that crying is not a bad thing though.

We miss you Uncle David. Thank you for caring so much about us all. We love you.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ode ~ Part of the Family

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Camping at Yuba Lake.

Horseback riding with Aaron and Shayla.

Horseback riding with Aaron, ME, and Shayla.

Even joined us on the boat.

Family Photo on the day of Aaron Jr's baby blessing.
Ode with Aaron Jr and Shayla.
Aaron and Ode.
Aaron giving Aaron Jr a ride with Ode running behind.

Just after snow shoveling.

I took over giving Ode his summer hair cuts after Aaron passed away.

Ode with a hair cut.

Aaron Jr and I took over giving Ode baths as well.

Ode came to the park with us all the time.
Aaron could get him to do things that no one else could.
Such as...

Sliding down the slide.

Or jumping down the slide. I LOVE this photo.
This was taken just a few weeks before Aaron passed away.

Or even riding with Aaron Jr on the playground equipment. :)

And this one just a few weeks before Aaron passed away.
Last family photo with Ode and Aaron in it.

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Ode ~ Fetch, Catch, & Hide

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Here is another posting of Ode to share photos of his life with us. We miss him.
Ode LOVED to fetch anything that we could throw and he would bring it back to us so we could throw it again. I loved watching him fetch out in the water. Here he is bringing back a stick...

He would even fetch rocks. He had jaws that could pick up this huge rock and carry it... I was amazed by this.

He also LOVED to catch things that we could throw to him. My niece Julia is a walking dog encyclopedia and loves dogs more than anyone I have ever met. This day at the park, she was in heaven throwing this frisbee to Ode. I couldn't take enough photos that day. He was catching so many of the throws.

Ode also loved to play tug of war... :)

If he got something he wanted to protect, he would bury it. I watched him bury several tortillas.

One of Ode's favorite things to catch was a snowball. Aaron was always throwing snow to Ode and he would catch it in his mouth. It was always fun to throw snow to Ode, he didn't care how big the snowball was, he would always catch it in his mouth. This particular day was a couple of months after Aaron passed away and Aaron Jr and I threw snow to Ode for a while. It was so much fun. In fact, just a few days before Ode passed away, Sue said that Ode seemed really excited about the snow and that she was playing in their backyard playing catch with him.

Memories of Ode catching snow in his mouth now reminds us all of the final hours of Aaron's life.

Aaron had been sleeping that day and after he passed away, we all assumed that he had slept right through the day and then passed away in his sleep. His mom had run a quick errand in that early afternoon and I had taken Aaron Jr to a doctor appointment and had spent some time at my parents a couple of blocks away from Aaron's parents' house...

In that short time that Aaron's mom had run an errand, we found out after Aaron passed away from a next door neighbor, that she had seen Aaron out in the back yard with Ode for a little while. Aaron was throwing snowballs up in the air to Ode.

After that, Aaron and Ode went back into the house and Aaron had gone back to sleep before his mom got home, so she assumed he had been asleep the whole time. Then he passed away in his sleep within the next few hours.

Just knowing that in Aaron's final hours, he was playing catch with Ode in the snow, I wish we had been there with him to enjoy that time with him and Ode.

We sure miss them.

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Road Trip

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Me, Aaron Jr, Kerianne

This is old news, I guess I have been a little bit of a slacker at blogging in the month of March. At the end of February, Aaron Jr and I were heading up to Oregon again to see Spencer and Kristi's family. It is not the funnest thing in the world to drive the 12 hours without someone else to talk to... to help stay awake. (Aaron Jr sleeps most of the time in the car... or is watching a movie). Anyhow, I knew that Kerianne's sister lives in Portland, so I asked Kerianne if she wanted to ride along and go to Portland and then fly home after visiting her sister. It became a plan. We were originally going to go up and spend a couple of days in that area and make a little side trip out of it, but time was too crunched, so we left on a Friday morning, drove the 9 or 10 hours and got to Hood River, Oregon which is just outside of Portland. Kerianne had booked a hotel room in that little town so that we could hike up to a waterfall the next morning. The hotel was nice and it was awesome being able to relax for the entire evening in the hotel room watching movies and snacking.

Aaron Jr and me.
The next morning, we got up, had a nice breakfast provided by the hotel and then asked for a late check out so that we could watch the BYU / San Diego State basketball game (yes, I'm a BYU fan). Then we checked out and walked behind the hotel to see the beautiful river and scenery. That is where these first four photos are from.

Me and Kerianne

Aaron Jr and a snowman that he wanted to take a photo of. Someone had built it there at the hotel.

Multnomah Falls

The beautiful Multnomah Falls. The left side if the upper falls. The right side is the lower falls.

Me, Aaron Jr, Kerianne at the lower falls.

Aaron Jr.

Me and Aaron Jr.
This photo sure looks different than the photo that was taken last July in this same spot. See it in THIS posting.
It is one of the last photos in the posting...

Peek-a-boo from Aaron Jr.

Another little waterfall on the hike up to the big waterfall.

LOVE the green moss growing everywhere. Me with Aaron Jr.

This tree had a hole in the center of it and it had filled with water, then frozen into ice. The leaf frozen in the ice looks pretty cool. This could be a little skating rink for a mouse. (I know, cheesy)

Me with Kerianne at the upper falls.

Some mossy trees and rocks.

Aaron Jr at the upper falls.

On the hike up, I saw this trash can and the letters TR were not there anymore... so when I saw the word ASH, it reminded me of Aaron because he would sometimes talk about how his initials spelled the word ASH... Aaron Sverre Harkness. So, I pointed it out to Aaron Jr because he has the same initials and he wanted a photo taken with it.

Amazing ice around it.

Kerianne, Me, Aaron Jr.

Aaron Jr on the cool stairs... while we waited for hot chocolate... it was bitter cold.

The road trippers... we had a great time for the 32 (or so) hours that we were all together... in the car and in the hotel and at the water fall.

Thanks for going with us Kerianne and for the hotel room. She didn't have to end up flying, her sister had borrowed their mom's car, so Kerianne drove it home for her mom after visiting her sister.

After we dropped Kerianne off at her sister Gina's house, Aaron Jr and I began the 4 hour drive down from Portland to Medford...

More to come...

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ode on Vacation in Canada

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In June 2004, Aaron, Ode, and I drove up through the Canadian Rockies with some of my family. It is a vacation that our family has loved to take and I wanted to share it with Aaron. I am so glad he got to see the beauty up through there. I put this photo in this posting again because it was on that vacation in Montana before crossing over into Canada.

There were so many more photos of this trip, but these are a few of the great ones with Ode.

One 'funny' story regarding Ode on this trip was when we were trying to cross over the border into Canada. They asked us if we had any papers or tags to prove that Ode was up to date on his vaccinations. We didn't, so they wouldn't let us cross over into Canada with the rest of our family who were all caravanning. So, we had to drive to the nearest town and try our hardest to find a vet who was still open to get Ode vaccinated, so that we could get into Canada to meet up with my family. Well, no vet's were open, so we drove through several small towns trying to figure out what to do... finally, we stopped for dinner at a little diner and we talked to the people there and they gave us a number to the local vet. So we called and told her our situation and asked if she would meet us and help us out. She didn't seem happy about it at all, but agreed anyway. We were grateful. After we got Ode vaccinated, the place where we had tried to cross the border before was closed, so we had to drive a while out of the way to get to one that was open. Because it was so late, we had to go into the border place to talk to the officials there and not one time did they ask any questions about Ode. They never asked about vaccinations or even seemed to care that he was with us... it made our work to get him vaccinated seem like it was all for nothing, but oh well... we were finally across the border and drove the couple of hours west to get to where my family was. They were all asleep in their tents, so we pitched ours and went to bed. That was that and Ode was with us and I am glad. :)

Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton Lakes National Park, Canada

Athabasca Glacier in the Colombian Ice Fields in Jasper National Park, Canada

Ode was in his element. He LOVES to jump and catch snow balls in his mouth.

Athabasca Falls in Jasper National Park, Canada

Down below Athabasca Falls in Jasper National Park, Canada

Peyto Lake in Banff National Park, Canada

I don't remember where this was, but we came across this and everyone was taking photos of people in these... so when my parents stepped up to have a photo, someone had the idea to hold Ode up to it. Just one of the family... :)

At the Paint Pots in Kootenay National Park, Canada

Hiking back down from the paint pots.

Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Canada
Ode even loved to fetch rocks. This is him standing at attention waiting for Aaron to throw the next rock.

Ode in anticipation...
This photo is a bit over exposed, but I still love it. It is one of my favorite photos of Ode. He is standing in the water and waiting for Aaron to throw another rock or stick into the water so that he can swim out to look for it. It was a lake sitting at the bottom of a glacier, but Ode didn't care how cold the water was, he LOVED to swim and fetch rocks and sticks. Doesn't he just look so excited? I love this photo. This is the pose that Ode was in so often because we played fetch with him so much. It was so much fun.

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