Thursday, April 26, 2012

April 26, 1985

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 My brother Bruce.

Aside from a creative writing piece I did in high school, I have never written down the events of this day before. The creative writing piece was something that did not have all of the details and was written as something to be graded in class. So, today I wanted to write down the events of this day, April 26, 1985. Each time I have ever told this story in person, I have always started to shake and my voice would get shaky and it would be hard to talk and even hard to breathe... even if I didn't cry, I have always started to shake with my voice shaking. So many of the events of the day have always remained so clear in my mind... I really feel something when I tell it. Also, for years and years and years after it happened, I could not drive past an accident scene with ambulances there and not cry and feel the emotions of the day start to return. It has been a long time since I have cried as I tell this story, but for some reason, I am extra emotional this year... and I felt like it was time to finally write down the events of the day. It may seem choppy at times, but I wanted the details in it the best I could.

We lived in a little town called Lawson, Missouri. It was a small town and we all loved living there. The people were wonderful and we all had great friends.

My parents were out of town. They were on a temple trip in Dallas, Texas. That is a long way from Lawson, Missouri, but that was the temple district that we lived in. So my parents had taken a trip with other people from our church down to Dallas to attend the temple. I don't remember how long they were meant to be gone, but I think it was going to be a few days. My oldest brother, Richard (19 years old), was on a two year mission for our church in Sweden, so he was also away. My oldest sister, Karey (20 years old), was left in charge of the rest of us kids, Nairn, Bruce, Robert, Lorianne, John, Lisa, Leslie (me), Spencer, and Mark, (all ranging in age from 17 down to 3 years old). I cannot even imagine having to deal with this type of day as a 20 year old and having to keep it together for all of my younger siblings. Karey was amazing.

April 26, 1985 was prom night at the high school. My brother Nairn had already left on his date and my brother Bruce had only just turned 16, so he didn't have a date and was to be an usher at the dance. Karey had let some of us kids invite friends over that night for a sleepover and to watch movies. She had rented Superman 4 and The Elephant Man. I still have never seen The Elephant Man and I am okay with that.

That afternoon, Bruce was going to drive into town to pick up his tuxedo. So, since we lived out in the country, the trip to town was going to include three errands: pick up Bruce's tuxedo, pick up Robert from track practice, and pick up John's, Lisa's, and my friends for the sleepover. It was fun to ride into town and Mark decided to ride along, Spencer was going to, but at the last minute changed his mind saying he was tired.

So, we headed into town on our little gravel road in our little yellow Plymouth Horizon. Seat belts were not a part of every day life back then. In fact, us kids were known to regularly be standing up in the back so that we could see out the front window. Part way to town, there was a little one lane wooden bridge that only one car could fit on at a time. I don't remember the name of the little creek that ran below the bridge. There had been fresh gravel laid down recently, which seems to make it a little more dangerous to drive on until it is packed down.

As we approached the little bridge, something started to go wrong. When all was said and done, Mark mentioned seeing a big rock in the middle of the bridge and he thought that was why Bruce started to try to brake. Anyway, that car had brake issues in the past and when he started to brake, it seemed to begin losing control and it began to fishtail in the deep gravel and Bruce yelled, "Hold On!" At that point, the car went off to the left side and missed the bridge entirely and was airborne. Who knows what was really seen in the middle of the bridge, maybe nothing... or maybe a big rock. We don't know.

After the car flew off the edge and down into the ravine, the next thing I remember after that was waking up inside the car. The car was tipped up on the passenger side. I seemed to be the first one to wake up and I looked for a way out of the car. I don't remember if a window had been rolled down or if it had broken out, but I crawled out of a window onto the embankment. I went to stand up, but something was wrong. As I tried to put weight on my left leg, it hyper extended all the way at the knee and I collapsed. I was so scared... in my eight year old mind, all I could imagine was that they were going to have to cut my leg off. I kept lifting the bottom half of my leg up because it seemed so strange that it was bending the wrong way... I was so scared.

So, I sat there looking around. I hadn't realized that Mark was not in the car, but he came walking down the hill towards me. He was 3 years old and seemed to be completely fine. I sure wish I could remember all of the conversations we all had with each other throughout this ordeal. We were all so scared.

As I looked over the situation, I realized that the car had landed on the opposite embankment from where it had traveled off of the drop off and the car was facing down the hill towards the creek. So, once it was airborne, it must have flipped over and landed on its side. As I looked down at the car, I realized that I could see Bruce, but only the back of his head. I couldn't make it down to him, but in my heart I wondered if he was still alive or not... and I figured he was not.

Lisa was the next one out of the car and she could barely walk. She said she was going to go for help. I wish I could remember our whole conversation, but it seemed like she was out and then gone pretty quickly. I do remember that she carefully went down to where we could see Bruce and gave him a kiss or a hug or something... I wish I could remember that better as well. Then she left to go and get help. She had such a hard time walking and climbing up the hill, she was hurting. She was only 9.

A little while after Lisa left, I started hearing sounds come from the car. I could hear John in there trying to get out of the car. He had been in the passenger seat and had been pinned under where Bruce was laying. I could hear him working hard to make it up to the top of the car and he finally made it out of the driver side window and rested there for a bit. He looked exhausted as though he had just run a marathon. He had to do it all using only one arm and you could tell he was in a lot of pain. He couldn't move his arm and had blood running down his face from his right cheek. Once he made it down to the ground, he asked where Lisa was and I told him she had gone for help, so he decided to go and try to find her and help her. He was only 11.

They were both so young to be having the responsibility of searching for help.

After he had left, Mark and I were left there on the hill next to the car, staring down at the creek and at Bruce. It was a hot and humid day. At one point, I remember Mark, my three year old brother, asking me if I wanted to lay on his lap, and I think I did. As I got older, when I would think back, I have always been amazed that my brother, who was only three, would think to offer his lap for me to lay on.

As we were sitting there, there were cars driving over the bridge above us. If they would have only looked down, they would have seen the nightmare we were in. But if I remember correctly, we were at least 30 feet down from the bridge. Anyway, Mark and I began yelling up to the bridge every time a car would drive over. Because it was so hot, people had their windows up with the air conditioning on. No one could hear us. We were screaming our little hearts out and we could not be heard. I don't remember how many cars and trucks drove across that bridge, but it seems like we were sitting there for so long.

Finally, a pick up truck drove across and their windows were down. We yelled and they looked down and slammed on their brakes. It was a man and his wife and they both came down to see how we were. His wife ran back up to the truck to use their CB to call for help. Over the years, I have always wished I could have told the man and his wife Thank You. They were there with us at a very difficult time. While the wife was gone to her truck, the man was crouched down in front of us, in our line of sight to Bruce, and he was talking to us. I asked him if they were going to cut my leg off. He told me no. At one point, Mark said "Bruce is dead", and the man told us that he wasn't and that he would be fine. Again, I was amazed at my three year old brother, he was just so aware of things.

His wife finally came back down and took Mark up to the truck with her. The man stayed there with me until help arrived. Paramedics came down with a stretcher and cut my pants. They carried me up the hill to the road and put me on the gravel road. I don't know it this is a true memory or if it is something that has concerned me since then, but I feel like I remember being worried about Bruce being down there all by himself once they brought me up to the road. I hate the thought of him being left down there without any of his family with him. I sure wish I could have said good bye to him.

My sister reminded me in a comment on here that she actually came down to where I was down below before they took me up to the road. I had forgotten that. She held my hand and sat with me there and then she mentioned that she went to go and find John and Lisa.

I remember they kept trying to put a mask over my mouth, but I wouldn't let them. I was so scared. I didn't know what to think or what was happening. I remember seeing Mark in the back of an ambulance. And the next thing I remember was that Karey came back. She came and told me it was okay and after she was there, I finally let them put the mask over my mouth. I needed her.

I don't remember how long I was there on the ground, but I was eventually carried over to the life flight helicopter that had landed a little way from the bridge. John was in the life flight with me. I remember trying to go to sleep, I felt so tired, but they wouldn't let me. They kept saying my  name and telling me I had to stay awake. I didn't understand why. I was so tired, I jut wanted to sleep. I know now that I was in shock and they had to keep me awake.

When we landed in Kansas City, it was at the Primary Children's Hospital there. I remember we landed on a rooftop and they rushed us on gurneys through what seemed like a big tube into the hospital. I remember the room was really white and really bright and it seemed like they were finally allowing me to go to sleep. As I layed there, I remember hearing John screaming from another room. I didn't know what was wrong. It was scary. His screams from the other room were what I went to sleep hearing.


I will insert a few details that I did not know at the time, but were told to me later.
Lisa and John had finally made it to a house and were able to call for help. The first house Lisa went to, no one was home, so she had to keep walking. Houses are not close together there.
They also called Karey, who did not have a car and had to run to the neighbors house and ask them for a ride to the bridge. Lori and Spencer were with her. Spencer had a disease in his hip at the time called leg perthes and was in a leg brace, it ended up being a blessing that he was too tired to ride along with us.
Robert, who was waiting for us at track practice, finally got a ride home with his coach. When they got to the fork in the road and it was closed off, they knew something must have happened to us, so they drove the long way around and finally arrived... Lori ran to Robert to let him know what had happened.
Karey was able to find Nairn on his date and tell him what had happened... what an awful prom night. Bruce and Nairn were the best of friends.
Lisa and Mark had been taken by ambulance to a closer hospital, treated, and then released. Lisa had torn ligaments and bruises all over her body. Mark, who had a cast on his arm from a broken arm previous to the accident, came away from the accident with only a little bruise on his ear. What a blessing. We like to think that an angel carried Mark out of the car by his ear before it hit the ground, and that is what gave him the bruise.
Poor Richard on his mission in Sweden had to find out through his mission president on the phone. He was completely alone and my heart breaks when I think about what he went through alone in a foreign country. He was missed.
It was a nightmare for all involved... such a devastating and heartbreaking time for us all, but it is also undeniable that there were miracles that took place that night as well.
Miracles in the midst of a nightmare.
The Lord was with us all.


The next day, I woke up in the hospital. I woke up and I was in traction. My left femur was broken completely in half and the bones had moved past each other, so they had drilled a hole through whatever my shin bone is called and had attached weights to it at the end of my bed so that the weights could slowly pull my bone back into alignment. John was my room mate. He had a crushed shoulder blade, a broken finger, and a huge gash on his cheek.

That day when I woke up, I remember Karey coming into my hospital room to talk to me. We were alone and she broke the news to me that Bruce had died. I remember crying and realizing that what we figured in the beginning was true. But my reaction to her news proved that I had chosen to believe that he would be okay and to have hope. What a blow. It was devastating news and our hearts were all broken.

After she told me, I remember my hospital door opening and a flood of people coming into my room. Relatives, including my parents. They had come back. I remember watching at the end of my bed and seeing my dad ask Karey, "Did you tell her?", and she said yes.

Bruce had died from suffocation. What had happened was that somehow the passenger door came open and he was thrown across the car, the door closed on his neck and must have made it so he could not breathe. We like to imagine that he was taken before the car hit... that he did not suffer. That is our hope.

The way my parents had found out about it all is so very sad. They were in the temple and after one of the temple sessions had ended, they were asked to meet with the temple president in his office. They assumed they were going to be asked to help with something, but instead, he sat them down and had to break the news to them. Here is their story in their own words:


"When the Temple President and Bishop informed us of the accident, the first words out of our mouths was "Was anyone killed?" The bishop told us that Bruce was. That news hit us harder than anything we had ever heard before or since. We were devastated.
Then they told us that there were four other of our children in the car at the time of the accident, and that some of them had to be "life-flighted" to hospitals, but they didn't know any details about who, how many, or what their conditions were.
From that moment, all our attention and all our prayers were directed toward the other four of our children. We were driven to the Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport, and sat for what seemed like hours waiting for a flight to Kansas City. We wept and prayed and wept and prayed. It was terrible, because we didn't know how many of our family members we would lose that night.
Finally, we got on the airplane, and wept and prayed, and worried about the four other children. We were picked up at the Kansas City Airport by a friend, and he was able to tell us that NONE of the other four were in danger. We had suffered the hardest blow of our entire lives, but we were instantly filled with the most intense gratitude you can imagine.
I had felt when our tenth child (Spencer) was born that Heavenly Father might take a "tithe" of our children home to him, and to learn that there was nothing further required of us was a GREAT relief. We spent the rest of that night and the next day focusing on our injured children, but thrilled to find all of them in relative GOOD condition considering. I think that gratitude is focusing on what Heavenly Father has given us; not on what He hasn't given us. Ever after that night we THANKED Heavenly Father for the sixteen years He gave us with Bruce; and that Bruce was an eternal member of our family. We have ALWAYS been so grateful for Heavenly Father's preservation and protection of the other of our children in the car."


Now that I am a mother, I cannot even imagine what my parents were going through as they were so far away from all of us when tragedy struck. I have been amazed at my parents after all of this. You could imagine them becoming bitter and not wanting to go to the temple much after losing a child while they were AT the temple, but they went the opposite direction. They attend the temple every chance they get, they have been such great examples of temple attendance of anyone I have ever known... they are drawn to the temple because of the importance of it. They chose to cling to the gospel and turn to the Lord for strength and have faith and hope in Him. I sure love my parents.

I remember a few days after being in the hospital, watching John getting dressed. I asked him where he was going and he said he was going to Bruce's funeral. I couldn't believe that I was not going to get to go to the funeral. Ever since that time, I have always felt like I was robbed of an experience that seems so necessary to be able to say good bye to a loved one. Going to a funeral of a loved one has always been sad, but uplifting at the same time. It helps to give closure and you get to feel uplifted as you hear about the wonderful things they accomplished in life and also you get to hear about the plan of our Father in Heaven, knowing that there is life after this and that we will see each other again. I always felt like I did not get to experience the closure that a funeral can bring. But it was just not possible for me to go.

John was able to leave the hospital within a couple more days for good and I remember that Karey got to come and spend the night with me some of the nights. Kansas City was about 45 minutes to an hour away from our home in Lawson and if I remember correctly, my mom came every single day to see me.

One day, I remember they gave me a shot to try to get me to go to sleep. I didn't know what they were planning to do, but I forced myself to stay awake because the last time that happened, I woke up with a pin in my leg... I didn't want to do that again. Because I was still awake, they had to do whatever they were going to do with me awake and I remember them unscrewing the screw from my bone. It was a strange feeling, but I was glad I was awake.

My mom left for the day after that happened and I remember that the tutor who would come and do school with me each day came into my room after I had come back from that. She was not a very nice lady and I didn't like her to come. I was glad that my mom had seen her enter my room because she came back and told the tutor that she didn't want me to have a tutor that day and that I needed some rest. Thanks Mom.

I remember getting a lot of cards and letters and flowers and other stuff while I was in the hospital. It made me feel special. I was in the hospital for at least 10 days, I can't remember how many for sure though.

Not long after that day, they put a cast on me. It was a full body cast. It went all the way up to my chest, down my whole left leg and halfway down my right leg, with a bar put in between my legs to keep it stable. There is a photo below.

I'm not gonna lie, I got really fast in that cast. I ran around all summer in that thing. If I remember correctly, I broke the cast at least twice near the feet from running on it so much and they had to recast it each time.

My Family.
Bruce is right in the center above my mom.
I love my family.

Losing a family member is such a devastating experience.
It is heartbreaking and the pain is so deep.
Bruce was always such an amazing person.
He was an amazing athlete and a good student, and was very well liked by all who knew him.
He loved the Lord and had a lot of faith in Him and in His gospel.
He was a good kid who loved his family and was wise beyond his years.
We all still miss Bruce so much.
The deep sorrow that is felt in your heart when you lose a close loved one cannot be described. Every aspect of life is changed by it and it can never be the same again. You have to find a way to live life in a new way and by doing that, you feel like you are 'moving on' from the memory of the one who was lost... but in reality you have to find a way to move forward while carrying them and their influence in your life with you as you go.
We are all better people for knowing Bruce and for having him as a part of our family.
We know he was called home to help do the Lord's work on the other side of the veil.
The gratitude that we can have for this experience is that it brought our family so close to each other. We all still fall short often, but having my brother waiting for us on the other side helps all of us try to keep our choices in perspective. We know where he is and having that knowledge is something that all of us are so grateful for. I am grateful for the life that Bruce was able to live. In those short 16 years, he accomplished a lot and he was one of the most amazing people I have ever known. I am grateful for the Plan of Happiness and for our knowledge of Eternal Families.

We love and miss you Bruce.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

All Tied Up

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Aaron's shoes were getting too small and they started hurting his feet,
so we got him some new shoes on sale last week. A pretty good deal.
SIZE FOUR !!! I can't believe it.
Granted, they are too big for him because I can't afford to buy shoes for him every few months. :)
He really loves them.
They have shoelaces, so we figured it was time for him to learn to tie his shoes.
I was impressed that he wanted to learn and I loved teaching him how to tie them.
He was a very patient student and had it down very quickly.
He is very proud of himself and I am also very proud of him.
Another milestone in his life... (sigh)... when will time slow down? :l

My earliest memory of tying my own shoes was in Granby, Missouri when we lived there.
I remember sitting on the piano bench and tying them and being so proud of myself and then running outside to play with my brothers and sisters who were out there already. I sure wish there was a video of ME tying my shoes. :)

Below is a video I took of him tying one of his shoes. So cute.

I told him the red thing is called a swoop,
so now he calls them 'Mikey Swoops'.
Today I found out that it is called a 'Swoosh'... oops. :)
I will eventually tell him that it is Nike and not Mikey. :)
But it is so cute.

Good job Aaron!!!

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hot Rod in the City

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My Biker Dude.

This posting is wordy, but it is my journal so I wanted to get the full story on here.
I have tried to teach Aaron how to ride his bike so many times. When we still lived in Lehi, a neighbor gave Aaron a little blue bike. So we went and bought training wheels and put them on and he did ride around on that some. After we moved, I took the training wheels off because they were bending and not on there properly anymore and I thought it would be a good time to try to teach him how to ride it without training wheels. So I tried to teach him how to ride it about a year and a half ago, and he was not having it. He said he didn't ever want to ride a bike until he was he was a lot older. He was nervous and I could tell it was not going to happen yet. So, the bike got put away and I didn't push him to try again.
Then one day last month, Aaron saw some kids out riding bikes and when we got home he said he wanted to ride his bike. So we got it out and it was WAY too small. I think it was a little too small the last time, but it would have worked... but this time, NO WAY!
But since he was finally asking to ride a bike, I figured that it was a good time to invest in a bike. We checked at the local thrift shop first, but nothing good. So we went over to Wal Mart. I decided to use the rest of my birthday money to buy him a bike and a helmet. I figured it was worth it since once he learns to ride, we will be able to ride together and that is fun for me and it will be like a birthday gift for me as well. :)

When we got home, he was so excited. He got all ready, we put on his helmet and he started coaching me about how to coach him. I had these grand visions of him being ready so that meant he was going to be able to ride really well that very day. :) Not what happened.

I held onto the bike for the first little while, then I told him that I was going to let go and let him try. He fought me on that, but finally agreed to try. So I let go of him and off he went... he rode for a bit and then it scared him and he stopped pedaling and started to curve down towards the curb... he hit the curb and fell over. It was at that point when he was ready to be done. I would not let him be done though... we stayed out for another while just so he didn't have that crash be his last memory of the day.

After that day, he said he wanted to take his bike back to the store and never wanted to ride a bike again. I told him that we could not take it back and that since I used my birthday money, I wanted him to keep it and keep trying. (horrible of me to use that one on him). So he got some money out and wanted to pay me back for the bike... didn't come close to enough, but I thought it was cute though. So funny. Our 91 year old widow next door tried to use reverse psychology on him and even told Aaron that she would have his bike if he didn't want it and he looked at her and said "Thank you" in a really relieved tone. That didn't work either. Thanks anyway for trying Hazel. :)

After that day, my sister Lori told me about how her husband Scott taught their 6 year old daughter. He taught her how to stop first so that she knew how to stop once she started. So they practiced using the brakes first... then it helped her to know that she was in control. So I decided to try that with Aaron. He was still really nervous and I wasn't allowed to let go, but I did try to every once in a while. Lori even helped me one day and we took turns running while holding on to his bike. Thanks Lori... and Scott for the method of learning to stop first. He got the stopping thing down and I knew it would be soon.
I just kept clinging to the fact that he had ridden his bike for a few seconds that first night. I knew he could do it if he would just have the right incentive and courage.

Later that week, we went out to Salt Lake so that I could go to a baby shower with my sister in law. Aaron stayed at their house with Aaron's brother Steve and their kids while we were at the shower.
Part way through the evening, I got an email from Steve to my phone and it was a video, but it would not let me open it...
on the way home, I told Christa that I was sure it had to be a video of Aaron riding a bike... I knew that Steve could get him to ride if he worked with him.
So we got back to their house and he said that all he had to do was hold on to Aaron's shirt so Aaron thought he was helping him and then he let go and Aaron was riding. He had promised to take Aaron to 7-11 and get a Slurpee for him if he would ride the bike and I guess that was the incentive he needed. Thanks Steve!

He did it!

The photo above is of Steve and Aaron after we got back and Aaron showed me in the dark how he could ride a bike. I was SO PROUD!!! Isaac came up behind so he could get in on the action in the photo. :)

 The video below is the one that Steve emailed to me. It is really dark and sideways, but I wanted to put it on here anyway.

That next day, we worked on him being able to start riding on his own without me starting him off... and he got it!

Here is a video of that below. Please turn your sound down so that my lame voice is not on the video. :)
Don't mind the car at the end, we are very careful and stay on the sidewalk most of the time now.

Since my parents are on a mission, we sent them some video clips...
Aaron told them about his triumph on the bike.

Even though it makes me a little sad that he has reached another milestone which is proof that he is growing up too fast... I am so excited that he has learned to ride.
He is growing more confident with it and he wants to ride his bike ALL THE TIME now.
We even went on a bike ride together on Monday. It was so much fun riding together and seeing him so excited.
Happy Birthday to ME! :)
It is his new favorite thing and it makes me happy.

I guess I know what this year's Christmas ornament will be... A BIKE!

Good job Aaron... I love you and I am proud of you!

p.s. my explanation of the title of this posting:
when I was little, I would be out playing with my brothers and sisters and if a 'biker', a man on a motorcycle, went speeding by, we would chant "Hot Rod... in the city".
We make fun of ourselves now for doing that. We were kids.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Trust In The Lord

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 My sister and I were chatting last night and we were both talking about some of our own personal struggles to do with trials we are experiencing... then she told me she had been directed by someone to THIS TALK that is below and said she was going to read it and encouraged me to do the same.
So, tonight I read it and cried all the way through it because I know that it is true. Of course, things are always easier said than done, but I do want so badly to follow the teachings in these words and trust in the Lord. It rang so true to me tonight, I knew I needed to post it on here for myself as a reminder and for anyone else who might need to read it.

Trust In The Lord
by Elder Richard G Scott
of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
given in General Conference in October 1995

It is so hard when sincere prayer about something we desire very much is not answered the way we want. It is especially difficult when the Lord answers no to that which is worthy and would give us great joy and happiness. Whether it be overcoming illness or loneliness, recovery of a wayward child, coping with a handicap, or seeking continuing life for a dear one who is slipping away, it seems so reasonable and so consistent with our happiness to have a favorable answer. It is hard to understand why our exercise of deep and sincere faith from an obedient life does not bring the desired result.

No one wants adversity. Trials, disappointments, sadness, and heartache come to us from two basically different sources. Those who transgress the laws of God will always have those challenges. The other reason for adversity is to accomplish the Lord’s own purposes in our life that we may receive the refinement that comes from testing. It is vitally important for each of us to identify from which of these two sources come our trials and challenges, for the corrective action is very different.

If you are suffering the disheartening effects of transgression, please recognize that the only path to permanent relief from sadness is sincere repentance with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Realize your full dependence upon the Lord and your need to align your life with His teachings. There is really no other way to get lasting healing and peace. Postponing humble repentance will delay or prevent your receiving relief. Admit to yourself your mistakes and seek help now. Your bishop is a friend with keys of authority to help you find peace of mind and contentment. The way will be opened for you to have strength to repent and be forgiven.

Now may I share some suggestions with you who face the second source of adversity, the testing that a wise Heavenly Father determines is needed even when you are living a worthy, righteous life and are obedient to His commandments.

Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more (see Prov. 3:11–12). He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain.

When you face adversity, you can be led to ask many questions. Some serve a useful purpose; others do not. To ask, Why does this have to happen to me? Why do I have to suffer this, now? What have I done to cause this? will lead you into blind alleys. It really does no good to ask questions that reflect opposition to the will of God. Rather ask, What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial? Willing sacrifice of deeply held personal desires in favor of the will of God is very hard to do. Yet, when you pray with real conviction, “Please let me know Thy will” and “May Thy will be done,” you are in the strongest position to receive the maximum help from your loving Father.

This life is an experience in profound trust—trust in Jesus Christ, trust in His teachings, trust in our capacity as led by the Holy Spirit to obey those teachings for happiness now and for a purposeful, supremely happy eternal existence. To trust means to obey willingly without knowing the end from the beginning (see Prov. 3:5–7). To produce fruit, your trust in the Lord must be more powerful and enduring than your confidence in your own personal feelings and experience.

To exercise faith is to trust that the Lord knows what He is doing with you and that He can accomplish it for your eternal good even though you cannot understand how He can possibly do it. We are like infants in our understanding of eternal matters and their impact on us here in mortality. Yet at times we act as if we knew it all. When you pass through trials for His purposes, as you trust Him, exercise faith in Him, He will help you. That support will generally come step by step, a portion at a time. While you are passing through each phase, the pain and difficulty that comes from being enlarged will continue. If all matters were immediately resolved at your first petition, you could not grow. Your Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son love you perfectly. They would not require you to experience a moment more of difficulty than is absolutely needed for your personal benefit or for that of those you love.

As in all things, the Master is our perfect example. Who could have asked with more perfect faith, greater obedience, or more complete understanding than did He when He asked His Father in Gethsemane: “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39). Later He pled twice again: “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done” (Matt. 26:42; see also Matt. 26:44).

How grateful I am personally that our Savior taught we should conclude our most urgent, deeply felt prayers, when we ask for that which is of utmost importance to us, with “Thy will be done” (Matt. 26:42). Your willingness to accept the will of the Father will not change what in His wisdom He has chosen to do. However, it will certainly change the effect of those decisions on you personally. That evidence of the proper exercise of agency allows His decisions to produce far greater blessings in your life. I have found that because of our Father’s desire for us to grow, He may give us gentle, almost imperceptible promptings that, if we are willing to accept without complaint, He will enlarge to become a very clear indication of His will. This enlightenment comes because of our faith and our willingness to do what He asks even though we would desire something else.

Our Father in Heaven has invited you to express your needs, hopes, and desires unto Him. That should not be done in a spirit of negotiation, but rather as a willingness to obey His will no matter what direction that takes. His invitation, “Ask, and ye shall receive” (3 Ne. 27:29) does not assure that you will get what you want. It does guarantee that, if worthy, you will get what you need, as judged by a Father that loves you perfectly, who wants your eternal happiness even more than do you.

I testify that when the Lord closes one important door in your life, He shows His continuing love and compassion by opening many other compensating doors through your exercise of faith. He will place in your path packets of spiritual sunlight to brighten your way. They often come after the trial has been the greatest, as evidence of the compassion and love of an all-knowing Father. They point the way to greater happiness, more understanding, and strengthen your determination to accept and be obedient to His will.

It is a singularly marvelous blessing to have faith in the Savior and a testimony of His teachings. So few in the world have that brilliant light to guide them. The fulness of the restored gospel gives perspective, purpose, and understanding. It allows us to face what otherwise appear to be unjust, unfair, unreasonable challenges in life. Learn those helpful truths by pondering the Book of Mormon and other scriptures. Try to understand those teachings not only with your mind but also with your heart.

True enduring happiness with the accompanying strength, courage, and capacity to overcome the most challenging difficulties comes from a life centered in Jesus Christ. Obedience to His teachings provides a sure foundation upon which to build. That takes effort. There is no guarantee of overnight results, but there is absolute assurance that, in the Lord’s time, solutions will come, peace will prevail, and emptiness will be filled.

Recently a great leader, suffering from physical handicaps that come with advancing age, said, “I am glad I have what I have.” It is wisdom to open the windows of happiness by recognizing your abundant blessings.

Don’t let the workings of adversity totally absorb your life. Try to understand what you can. Act where you are able; then let the matter rest with the Lord for a period while you give to others in worthy ways before you take on appropriate concern again.

Please learn that as you wrestle with a challenge and feel sadness because of it, you can simultaneously have peace and rejoicing. Yes, pain, disappointment, frustration, and anguish can be temporary scenes played out on the stage of life. Behind them there can be a background of peace and the positive assurance that a loving Father will keep His promises. You can qualify for those promises by a determination to accept His will, by understanding the plan of happiness, by receiving all of the ordinances, and by keeping the covenants made to assure their fulfillment.

The Lord’s plan is to exalt you to live with Him and be greatly blessed. The rate at which you qualify is generally set by your capacity to mature, to grow, to love, and to give of yourself. He is preparing you to be a god. You cannot understand fully what that means, yet, He knows. As you trust Him, seek and follow His will, you will receive blessings that your finite mind cannot understand here on earth. Your Father in Heaven and His Holy Son know better than you what brings happiness. They have given you the plan of happiness. As you understand and follow it, happiness will be your blessing. As you willingly obey, receive, and honor the ordinances and covenants of that holy plan, you can have the greatest measure of satisfaction in this life. Yes, even times of overpowering happiness. You will prepare yourself for an eternity of glorious life with your loved ones who qualify for that kingdom.

I know the principles that we have discussed are true. They have been tested in the crucible of personal experience. To recognize the hand of the Lord in your life and to accept His will without complaint is a beginning. That decision does not immediately eliminate the struggles that will come for your growth. But I witness that it is the best way there is for you to find strength and understanding. It will free you from the dead ends of your own reasoning. It will allow your life to become a productive, meaningful experience, when otherwise you may not know how to go on (see D&C 24:8).

I testify that you have a Heavenly Father who loves you. I witness that the Savior gave His life for your happiness. I know Him. He understands your every need. I positively know that as you accept Their will without complaint, They will bless and sustain you. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Feelings of the Mind and Heart

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 I have been sick for the better part of a month. This has been my worst season EVER when it comes to coming down with sickness throughout a winter. I have had a wicked and brutal case of bronchitis that has had me down for the count and I have just developed what I believe might be strep throat and a double ear infection.
So, as I look over my scattered thoughts that I just got done writing tonight, I realize that my emotions have been on the verge because of being emotionally and physically drained from this illness... and part of me wants to delete all of this that is written below and pretend I never wrote any of it. And since most of it was typed through the blinding of my tears, most of it might not even make any sense... but since I know they are true feelings of my heart, I am going to post them anyway and ask that those who read this will please be gentle in your thoughts.

I continue to press on in my uphill battle and I know I will be fine.

~ ~ ~

I wish I knew where to begin. I am feeling lost... in so many ways.

I have so many scattered thoughts running through my mind right now, and my heart is so filled with pain tonight, I feel like I will explode into a million pieces if I don't get these thoughts and feelings out. I guess I will just start typing and see what comes out.

Aaron Jr has loose teeth. This may not seem like a bad thing, but to me... it is so very sad. He has grown up teeth coming in and everything that happens in his life that is a sign that he is growing up makes me want time to slow down even more.

I have been watching old videos a little bit lately... videos from a few years ago, in those first couple of years after Aaron passed away. These videos make me happy, but they also have been causing me a lot of pain because of regret. When I watch Aaron Jr in those videos, I grieve for the little boy that is no longer here. Not that I don't want Aaron Jr to be the boy he is today, but in those couple of years of his life, I was there physically, but not present emotionally. When I watch the videos of this little tiny boy who still needed me in order to survive, I feel so guilty. SO guilty. I was there in his life taking care of his physical needs, but I feel like I was not present so much of the time. I feel like what I was forced to go through and forced to deal with robbed me of the precious moments of motherhood in these precious years of his life. I feel like those first couple of years after we lost Aaron I was walking around in a fog... trying to breathe again and trying to figure out how to survive on my own. I was completely in survival mode. I have talked about this recently with other widows and they have the same memories about those first couple of years... living in shock and not being present emotionally... just in survival mode. I'm struggling with it though...

So, my son, my perfect and precious little boy, missed out on having a mother who was emotionally there and PRESENT in his life... and I missed out on so much that I could have been experiencing as a mom. That time is lost and I cannot get it back. And because I am a guilt monger, I am struggling right now to forgive myself. I wish I could have those years back. I would do things so much differently. I know I would still be grieving the loss of my husband and the lost dreams of a growing family, and I know I would still be feeling lonely and heartbroken, but if I knew then what I know now, I would focus more on him. I would grieve WITH him instead of grieving while closing myself off from the world.

I was so selfish back then, I was so focused on my own loneliness, and didn't think all too often about how lonely my child must have been. I am brought to tears and am overwhelmed with the thought of how lonely he was because of my selfishness. It literally has been breaking my heart lately when I think about it. My heart hurts so much right now for him. He was just so little and so did not understand at all what was going on... and I could have been so much better for him. All I have ever wanted to be for him was a wonderful mother.

I wish so badly I could have heard all of this from a widow back then. If I had known a widow back then and they expressed thoughts like these... I would like to think that I would have tried harder not to have these types of regrets. So I guess that is a reason that I want to put these out here... I wish I had read something like this back then.

I wish I could explain this better. I know in my heart what I am feeling, but it is difficult to explain. I just really wish I could start over... from the day Aaron died. I would truly go through it all again just for another chance to do things differently and be better for my son.
I would go through pain a million times more painful if I could do it over again... for him.

Some of my thoughts lately are not new... but they are ever so present in my mind lately and I need to get them out.

It is no secret that Aaron Jr wants brothers and sisters. He talks constantly about it. After I did the last posting about how he asks if we can do chores, I realized that he might not do that if he wasn't so bored and so lonely that doing chores with me is something he gets to do WITH someone. If he had another child to play with, I am positive he would want to play instead. I am more present in his life now, but he doesn't have as much fun with me as he would if he were able to hang out with a brother or a sister and play and pretend and wrestle.

Yesterday in the car, Aaron was talking about his cousin who just turned 8 and got baptized. He asked me who was going to baptize him when he is 8. This has been a subject on my mind ever since Aaron passed away. I hoped so badly that I would be married again by then so that he would have a dad who could do it. I then asked him who he would want to baptize him. He thought about it for a second and then told me who he would want to baptize him.

I just feel like it is so unfair that these are issues he has to deal with. When I turned 8, my dad was alive, so there was no question in my mind who would baptize me. I hate that my son has to even ask the question, 'Who is going to baptize me?' Why should he have to wonder that? It is such a no brainer for a child whose dad is alive.

I have been talking to Aaron lately about the things we want in our lives and that we should ask Heavenly Father for the things that we want. He knows that I want to get married again and I know that he wants brothers and sisters. So, lately, he has been praying that I will get married again and have brothers and sisters for him.

This is something I have been praying for for years now... but being thrown into this world again, the dating world, is not easy. The first time around was brutal and tough for me, and this time around it is a bazillion times more brutal and more tough for me.

The subject of dating makes me want to
Laugh Out Loud
and also to
Cry Out Loud.

In fact, I often do both... in the same conversation about dating. :)
I'm lost. How do people meet each other these days? I have no idea. I don't know what I am supposed to be doing or where I am supposed to be to meet someone. But I know it is not going to be in my house that I meet someone. It has been suggested that I do a posting on this blog and ask all of you out in the blogging world to help me out in this... to think of the single LDS guys that you know who I could be set up with. But for some reason, it feels strange to actually go through with doing a posting like that.

At the beginning of the year, I had this wonderful hope that this year was going to be MY year. Of course in my mind, that meant I would meet someone great and hopefully on my way to having a complete family again. I still have hope that it will happen... but have no idea where this person is and how we are supposed to meet each other. It is as much a foreign concept to me as it would be to try to speak fluent Chinese today.

I do pray every night that I will receive guidance about where I should be and what I should be doing in order to meet the man who I am meant to meet.

In this process, I feel like heaven has been silent. BUT, since I know that heaven is not silent if we have ears to hear... I know it must be that my life is too loud. In these past four plus years, I tend to have constant noise so that the loneliness does not consume me. I know it is my problem that I am not hearing the voice of the spirit answering my never ending pleas in this matter. I don't think there is anything that I have ever prayed so fervently about. I guess I need to quiet my life. I need to be taught how to listen better and understand what the Lord is trying to tell me.

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
~ Philippians 4:13

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Aaron Jr. ~ Random

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Aaron got to choose a prize at school for some reason and ended up with this Zhu Zhu Pet hamster. It had a four leaf clover on its back, so assuming it was for St Patrick's Day, Aaron named it Patrick at first and Patch for short. Aaron came up with a clever way to buckle Patch into the car. I thought it was so funny.

Aaron asks all the time if we can do chores.
His favorites are washing clothes so that he can spray the stain remover, vacuuming, and emptying the dishwasher. What a helpful boy.

Trying to reach more clothes in the basket.

When Aaron and I first got married, he was asked to build these dressing rooms in a little clothing shop next door to Secret Haven and The Bun Basket. I went with him and we were there all evening and all night. I fell asleep on the floor and he finished these dressing rooms that night. It has been nearly 10 years now and that clothing business moved out. The new business going in wanted these out, so this is one last photo of them before they were removed that day.

We helped out at Secret Haven one day and Aaron and I painted this piece of furniture.

My feet have been having issues lately, so I have not been able to train lately...
this day they were hurting really badly, so Aaron offered to massage them.
Although he was not quite as effective as someone stronger might have been, he sure tried hard... and I sure appreciated it.

Getting so big. He is very into climbing trees lately.

Aaron climbing higher, with Henry down below peering out.

And higher.

Conference weekend, Aaron kept asking me to go out and dig with him... so we went out between sessions on Saturday. He brought a piece of a p.u.s.s.y. willow that his teacher had given to him. He wanted to plant it. I didn't have the heart to tell him that it will not grow again. He planted it and then watered it with his water gun.

Watering Grandma's daffodil with his water gun.
While we were digging, the wind was blowing... so Aaron said:
"Mom, make sure the dirt doesn't blow in your eyes because it hurts... like lemonade."

I am not at all sure what it has to do with lemonade, but I took it to heart and I made sure I didn't let the dirt blow in my eyes. :)

So, I keep forgetting to sign Aaron up for soccer, then I find out that it is too late. I guess I need to set an alarm for a few months away to remind myself. As I see other people's photos of their kids playing soccer, I am sad that Aaron is still not on a team. What a lousy mom I am. He is fine with it since he doesn't think he wants to play yet, but I really think he would enjoy it. Plus, I am prolonging being able to call myself a 'soccer mom'... which means I am only hurting myself, right? :) Just kidding.

Its no secret... I love this boy.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

March Madness ~ 2012

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Happy Birthday to me.
Aaron got me a bag of mini York peppermint patties. Mmm.
I sure want to photoshop a good hair day on myself in this photo.

 This is what Aaron picked out for our neighbor for her birthday.
A purple hot wheels car.

Happy Birthday to Hazel.
This is our neighbor who Aaron gave the purple car to.
She is a 91 year old widow and we love her.

 We got to babysit my sister's 6 kids for a couple of day during March.
Here are their 2 boys being so super cute.

Here is Aaron with their 6 kids.
We sure did love having them around.
The second day when most of the kids were at school and the two boys were at my sister's house playing, Aaron asked if they were coming back. When I told him that they would be back, he said,
"Yay! I got to have brothers and sisters last night and I get to have brothers and sisters again today and I get to have brothers and sisters again tonight!"
What a sweet boy. He wants brothers and sisters so badly!

 Road work being done on our street. Aaron was in heaven watching the big tractors doing their thing.

Climbing trees with Stella.

 Robin Eggs = Blue lips.

 Aaron and Zach at the new City Creek Center.

Jaime (a friend of mine from England) and her daughter Alexis
with Aaron and me.

Aaron and Alexis
She is about to turn 8 years old.
I think Aaron got a little crush on her... he was so excited to see them again and said he wants them to live by us. He even did his hair that last day he was going to see her before they went home. SO cute.

Alexis and Aaron.
I mean Spiderwoman and Spiderman.

Happy Birthday message to Grandma.
In the bottom, right corner is the picture Aaron drew of her.

My project during the month of March.
They are now for sale at Secret Haven in Fruit Heights.

Secret Haven Spring Open House opening night.

My nieces in their school play.

 This awesome thing was at a park down in Utah County.
I drew a black arrow pointing at Aaron Jr.
He got really high. He is getting so big.

 Here is another one closer up.

 We were down there for a birthday party for one of his best friends.

My nephew Jack got baptized in March.
Congrats Jack. We love you.

Aaron took these photos of his pets.
Bluin and Ode.
He painted this dog to look like Ode then put his name on the tag.
We miss Ode.
In March, he has been gone one year.
Aaron talks about him all the time.

 Aaron Jr and Ode.
Best friends.
We miss you, Ode.

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