Wednesday, October 30, 2013

5 Months?

The title says it all.  Time is twisted.  It seems like these months have crawled because they have been so hard.  On the other hand, how has it been 5 months since I laid eyes on my baby girl?  It seems unbelievable to me that I haven't heard her or seen her or touched her in that long.  I feel like time is just slipping away too fast.   Like I said, I hate time.  It messes with my mind and my heart.

The other day someone said something about their little girl being 17 months old.  Then I realized that her little girl is the same age as Tates.  I just can't believe all of the sweet things that we are missing not having her here.

This has been a really bad day.  I have been on the verge of tears all day.  I had several work things that I needed to go and do.  As I would drive from location to location I would have to sit in the car for a second to try and compose myself before going and visiting with my patients.  Embarrassing.

I think that it has been a hard day because I decided to mourn the 5 month mark today so I can try and not ruin Halloween for the rest of the family.  So I have been trying to get all of my sad feelings out today.   I am sure that none of them mark these days like I do.  I try not to call too much attention to these hard "anniversary" days when they come because I think that Lance and the kids need to live their lives and grieve the way that they need to.  Maybe that is silly or unhealthy to "suffer in silence", but I think that it works best for right now.

I never could have guessed that Halloween would have been so hard for me.  But all I can think about is last year at this time we were having so much fun with our little girls.  They both dressed up as clowns.  Tater bug wore the same one that Trevin wore for his first Halloween.   What kind of stupid irony is that?  I even asked Lance if he thought that was weird or a bad idea.  We both agreed that we were being superstitious.  Oh boy.  So the past few days as I have watched people dressing up their cute little one year olds, it has been unbearable.
 Tatum as her cute little clown.  I used a different hat for her than for Trevin.  Somehow in 19 years the hat got lost!
 I can't believe that we were able to talk Hilary into a clown.  What a sweetie.

Trevin at 5 months, wearing the clown costume.  Our pictures were not that great back then, but I am so grateful for the ones that we have.  Miss this little guy.

 I just can't get over the contrast from last year to this year.  This is the hard part about the first year after a death.  All of the "firsts" without them.  Last year with Tatum  here is so fresh in our mind that it is hard for our hearts and minds to absorb this horrible new reality.  In better words, It Sucks, and it hurts.  I truly feel my heart broken and hurting, pit in my stomach, lump in my throat.  I hope that I can pull it all together for tomorrow.  Holden and Hilary are so excited that they are maybe going to implode if they have to wait another day.  I am going to have to put on my happy face.  Luckily I know that I can and I will.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Are All of These Funerals Messin' With Hils?

Today I went out to run with Hilary.  I was going to have to skip my second workout that I usually do with my friends because I needed to get ready for our neighbors funeral.  As I was turning out of our neighborhood I passed one of my friends running towards me.  She turned around and started running with me.  I am sure that she didn't realize what she was doing.  I am positive that I slowed her down considerably, but it was so fun to run with her and get caught up.  It felt good to "run" with someone.  I haven't had an actual running partner for several years, and it reminded me how much I love running with other people.  That is probably why I walk with the ladies that I walk with, for that social interaction.  It started my day off really nice.  I got a way better work out than if I had gone by myself, so thanks friend.

We got home and quickly got ready to go to the funeral.  I was telling Hilary that we were going to Brother Florence's funeral.  She quickly got excited and asked if we were going to get to see Tatum.  Heart breaking.  She has done this every time that we have gone to a funeral since Tatum died.  I told her that Tatum was not going to be there.  When we got to the viewing, we just went and talked to Sister Florence and did not actually go by the casket.  As I was talking to our neighbor Hilary kept tugging on me.  I finally turned and asked her quietly what she needed.  She pointed to the casket and said, "I want to see Tatum".  I knelt down and whispered to her "That isn't Tatum".  So I lifted her up so she could see and she turned to me and laughed and said "That's Brother Florence".  What a sweetheart.  I hope that all of these funerals are not messing her up.

The funeral was a great tribute.  All five of his children spoke.  He was an amazing man.  He had planned his funeral and he said that he wanted them to each cover a gospel topic.  His son that lived in our ward for the last several years gave a great talk about repentance.  He shared an amazing story about how his dad had reacted to him in a time in his life when he was going through the repentance process.  His dad reacted in such a positive way and it made him pause and be so grateful for the atonement that has allowed repentance to be a possibility in all of our lives.  He went on to say how Satan has made us, as a society, view repentance as a negative, shameful process that is too hard and not worth the effort.   Where in reality repentance is a beautiful, cleansing, necessary, gift given to us by our Heavenly Father made possible through our Savior.  It was a fantastic talk and his dad would have been proud.

About half way through the talk Hilary looked up at me, pointed to the picture of our neighbor on the front of the program and said "He's gonna come alive again".  I smiled and said that he was.  What a smart little girl.  You can see the wheels just spinning inside her mind.  

All week since our neighbor died I have been so grateful that he was not having to suffer anymore.  I hadn't really thought too much about his kids and wife and grand kids, because I figured they felt the same.  As I was listening to all of the amazing stories and the testimony that he bore and lived it made me sad to think that his posterity would no longer have that influence directly in their lives.  It made me think of my own grandpa that died when I was 11.  I loved him dearly and I remember that void when he died.  Then I felt really sad for his kids and all of his family.  Then I thought about Tatum and Trevin and all of their lost posterity for us.  We will never get to see them get married and have kids here on earth.  The promise of raising them again in the Millenium better live up to my expectations!

On a totally different note, yesterday we got to visit with some friends of ours that were from our very first ward when we got married and lived in Provo!  They just moved back to Utah from Colorado.  It was really fun to visit with them.  It felt just like old times, except that we were having to talk over our kids!  They have 5 kids really close to our older kids ages.  They just barely found out that Tatum died a few weeks ago, so it was a little awkward that we didn't ever get to talk to them about what happened to Tatum, but there was never a quiet moment to really talk about it.  Hopefully we will get to go out with them sometime soon.

Tonight we went out to do some last minute Halloween things.  Holden and Hilary are so excited they can hardly contain themselves.  I think Holden has tried on his costume 10 times.  Hilary insisted on wearing hers to the stores tonight and keeps asking me if it is Trick or Treat time yet.

Then we stopped by to visit with some good friends for just a little bit.  Really and truly visiting with friends and their families is probably my all time favorite activity.  It does my heart good.  We are just lucky that we are surrounded by such good fun people.  One of my millions of blessings!

Overall a pretty decent day.  I had my several sad "Tatum moments", but that is to be expected and I really don't wish that away.  I love to think of her and the example that she is to all of us.  I do enjoy a good funeral.  It is always such a great reminder to live my life a little better.  I almost always leave feeling inspired to do a little better, this was no exception.  He was a pure example of doing what the Savior would want you to do.  He will be missed.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Survived Another Friday..

I am one that tries really hard not to focus on the negative.  So the past month or so I have made an effort to try and not associate Friday with a negative feeling, even though it is a hard day because it is the day that Tatum and Trevin both died on.  It is a weird phenomenon that somehow your body just knows.   It seems like I still have this heavier feeling on that day.  This past Friday I was just feeling sluggish and sort of like I just wanted to accomplish nothing, but I had things that I needed to do.  I started going through the motions and then I stepped back and realized that it was Friday.  Without even consciously thinking about it, my body and my spirit knew.  Luckily I had made plans to go up to have lunch with Hilary's BFF and his wife:)  I had fun visiting with them.  Hilary's little cousins were over so she had fun playing with them, it was a win win.
Later in the afternoon a few of my friends said that they wanted to come and plant some daffodils so that when winter is seeming long, all of a sudden some beautiful sunshine will bloom in our yard.  I have always wanted to plant daffodils and I don't know why I haven't.  They truly are one of my favorite of the bulb flowers.  Probably because they are one of the first to bloom and a sign that winter will soon be over, and spring is coming.  I am so grateful for all of the people that continue to walk beside me in this unbearable grief.  I will never be able to repay what has been done in my behalf.

They even let me tell them where I wanted them to be!  I am so excited to see them bloom.

Friday night was crazy. I was running kids everywhere, then I took Holden and Hilary to our local city Halloween carnival.  Because I was running kids, we didn't get to the carnival until about 1/2 hour before it closed.  As we pulled up, I saw people leaving and I realized that they were all in costumes.  Of course they were, dah!  It's a Halloween Carnival, get it?  Perfect. Hilary said that it wasn't Halloween so she wasn't supposed to wear her costume and Holden could care less, he just wanted to get the candy.  Here is why I will always show up with just 1/2 hour til close.  The kids got to do everything that they wanted to do, the lines were pretty short, the trick or treat people were giving hand fulls of candy because they wanted to get rid of it, and I only had to be there for 30 minutes and the kids thought I was the best for bringing them at all.  It was fantastic.

I decided late Friday night to get up in the morning and go to the Temple.  When my alarm went off I was a little unsure why, then I remembered that I had set it so I could try and make the 6:30am session.  I quickly got ready and off I went.  The whole time I was driving there I kept saying, please let me make the 6:30 session.   I was running late and I didn't want to have to wait 30 minutes until the next session.  I know bad attitude, but I just didn't want to sit for that long cause I was pretty tired.  I went inside the Temple, trying to relax and not be rushed so I could enjoy the spirit.  I left the dressing room at 6:29am, so I was sure that I missed the session.  When I got to the top of the stairs where they direct you to go and wait for the next session, the lady worker standing there asked me if I was waiting for someone.  That was a puzzling question, I answered no.  She whispered that they were holding the session for me and directed me to an open door just a few feet away.  I thanked her and quickly walked in the door.  Everyone was already seated and as soon as the door was closed they began the session!   I have NEVER had that happen before.     I figured that Trevin and Tatum had whispered to that sweet lady, "wait just a minute our mom is coming, she's just a little behind, but she is coming and she could use a little break today".  What do you think?  They are closer than we think:)

The rest of the day was beautiful.  It was fairly relaxing ish.  We were doing things all day, but I didn't feel super stressed.  Zoe and I went for a fun run.  I was going to try and sneak out and not bring her, but she was starting to whine while I was getting my clothes and shoes on.  Then when I started my watch she really started moaning and ran to the door.  How could I deny her.  She was way more excited than I was.  Unfortunately she almost got attacked by three different dogs while we were running, but she just loves it anyway.
She doesn't look excited in this picture, but she was smiling the entire time we were running.  I love her enthusiasm for the simple things in life.  She is good therapy for me.  She has a way of pulling me out of the darkness that can sometimes creep in.

Later in the day I got to go on a bike ride with my friend and her sister and her parents.  So much fun.  Such a beautiful, perfect day.  I am loving all of the colors in the trees.  I am anxious because I know that it is going to end soon and we will be confined to our house.  Ahhh.  I have been setting up safeguards with friends so that I don't fall into a depression.  I have been so grateful for the summertime weather these past few months.  It  has been really good for me to be outside and in the sun.  Here are some of the colors from our backyard:

We still have a few roses!  They smell so sweet and look so beautiful and delicate.  They make me smile. Love it.

The other day one of my neighbor's daughters posted a profound message on her instagram and I asked her if I could share it.   She said "We spend so much time asking the Lord to cure our hardships, without ever considering that our hardships are curing us."  I don't know if this is her own quote or if it is from someone else, so I don't know who to credit.  I will credit her for posting it.  I know that the hardships that I have experienced throughout my entire life, each one has had a purpose and I can see things and attributes that I have gained from them.  I know that they have "cured" me of many things that I might otherwise have struggled with.  I am forever grateful for that.  I know that the Lord has a bigger plan for me and my family.  I see the changes and the depth that our kids have gained this past year and I have to be grateful.  I pray that they will always remember the lessons that they have learned and I hope that they allow themselves to be cured through this very difficult trial and the rest of their trials that are to come.  Unfortunately none of us are ever done experiencing hardships.  It makes experiencing some of them a little easier if we can try and see what they are doing for us, what our Heavenly Father wants us to become because of them,  what they are curing within us.  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Vulnerable, Like it or Not..

Sometimes I wonder why I leave the house.  I hate how vulnerable I feel all of the time.  Like I am an open wound just bracing for when the next thing that comes along is going to pour salt in my gaping hole.  I know that, for me, it is best to just get out there and keep trudging through.  I think that if I stayed home I might get too comfortable and never leave the house.  But sometimes I wonder why I continue.
On Tuesdays I attend a workout class that one of my neighbors teaches.  It was something that I absolutely loved before Tatum got sick.  Shortly after she got sick the class disbanded for a short time.   It started up again I think in the summer.  I have been really hesitant to come back because I am not sure who knows what happened to Tatum and who doesn't.  There are influxes of new people and I don't want to really talk to new people right now.  About half way through summer I decided to give it a try.  It has been OK thus far.  There is a lady that comes that had a baby recently, which has been a little hard for me.  But I know that it isn't her fault that she has a new baby, so I have just carried on.  Yesterday I was next to someone that I know quite well and she turned to me and said "It's really hard with all of these babies".  Of course I thought that she was acknowledging the fact that I should have a baby/toddler.  Luckily before I could thank her she finished her thought.  She continued, "I really want another baby but I just don't want to potty train or have a two year old."  Hmmm.  I am sure that is probably hard.  Lot's harder than actually having a baby and then having it die and knowing that you can't ever have another one to fill your forever aching arms because it could have the same genetic disease that two of your kids have died from.  Why do we not think before we speak?  Really.  I know that I have said a million things in my life that have been absurd, but really?  Really?  I am sure that she has not thought of it since, because she didn't ever realize what she had said.   There was no gasp of, Oh my gosh.  No Wow, that must be really hard for you too.  Nothing.   I hope she doesn't ever put it together because she might be horrified.  Luckily I am not one to hold grudges.  I will soon forget what she said.  I love my silly brain.

We lost another one of our sweet neighbors this past week.  Luckily he was 91 and had suffered with health problems for the past year and a half, so it was a little bit of a relief to see him be released from his suffering.  He was such a funny and  nice man.  He and his wife served 4 church missions together and raised 5 or 6 children I think.   Just this spring he was out there cleaning up his huge yard, riding the lawnmower, he always hung his own Christmas lights (much to all of our dismay), raised and slaughtered(sometimes accidentally scaring the neighborhood kids) and packaged his own meat, he bottled his own fruits and vegetables, cleaned and cooked for his wife who had also been suffering health problems (mind you he was 90 at the time).  All of this until just very recently.  He was a true example of enduring to the end.  But he didn't just endure, he loved the Lord and bore testimony of that constantly.  He carried himself with grace and dignity even in his suffering.  He lived an amazing life and I am forever grateful to have been his neighbor.  The Heavens have received a great and feisty light.  I am sure that he has already got things running faster and more efficiently up there.  He will be missed.

The past few weeks I have been really missing my time of just sitting with Tates.  I have felt so exhausted and like I am not always accomplishing the things that I always want and need to be.  After Tater bug was sick I would scurry fast in the morning to get everyone where they needed to go, quickly tidy the house and myself and then I would try to sit with her and focus on the important things.  The first few weeks after she had her big seizure I really didn't do a lot except sit with her and communicate with people and my Heavenly Father.  It was such sweet divine time.  What a gift of time I was given, our entire family was given.  Today when I was getting ready the song "One More Day" came on, just like it used to almost every day while she was sick.  It became sort of my theme song.  It seriously came on almost every day, exactly while I was getting ready to face another uncertain day with her.  I just  love the words to the song because they reminded me to enjoy this time because we didn't know how long we had and we knew that we would soon be wishing for one more day.  And here I am, wishing for just one more day to hold her.  Longing for that day that I get to.  Yet trying to live in the present for these other sweet kids.  It is certainly a daily balance and struggle that I am not always good at.

On a side note, my Brobee costume is ordered.  Our Yo Gabba Gabba family is almost complete!  Stay tuned for pictures.
 Loving her Brobee!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sometimes You Just Have To Laugh...

Saturday we kidnapped Hayden and Halea and two of Hayden's friends and took them on the birthday excursion.  We asked Hayden to choose a place to eat.  What does any 16 year old boy choose.  Golden Corral buffet of course.  Good thing cause those boys can eat.  Halea didn't do too bad herself.  Then we took them to an indoor rock climbing gym.   Way fun.  They had a little wall for Hilary that she played on for like an hour straight.  Then we brought them and dropped them off at the haunted house.  I think that they had fun.  Hilary hung right with the teenagers.  That girl is living the teenage dream at 3!

 carefully planning her next move.
a quick smile for the camera...
 Hayden perfecting his moves.
Hayden being taught by the climbing guru...those boys were schooled!

When we got home I did some last minute preparations for Sunday.  I was really looking forward to Sunday.  We had a lot of meetings and things to do, but all really good things, culminating with a Fireside (devotional for those not of the LDS culture) that was going to be given by the seminary teacher for both Halea and Hayden.
I woke up and hit the ground running.  I knew it was going to be busy and so I tried to get some things organized to alleviate any undue stress that could distract from the good things.  (Ha Ha, nice try!)  The day actually went as well as could be expected with the exception of the lost spider in the van!  I was driving home from the hospital, saw it scurry across the dash and then it sat on the passenger side door for most of the ride.  I ran into church, came back out and it was GONE!  Not sure what to do about that.
Halea had an interview with our Bishop and she said he asked her how she was doing in regards to Tatum.  She said she lost it a little bit and told him that she worried mostly about Hilary, because Tates was supposed to grow up with her.  What a sweet big sister to worry about Hilary.  I worry for her too.  She is going to have to endure Lance and I as old parents, alone now.  Everyone will be out of the house for a good 6 or 7 years before she leaves.  Poor little dear.
We got to the fireside and the kids seminary teacher came over to talk for a minute and he chuckled and said "This should be interesting, they have booked two Brother Butler's"  I laughed and said "Yeah right".  He laughed back and said he was serious.  They booked two brother Butler's.  (sometimes you just have to laugh!!)  Apparently the two Butler's email addresses are off by only 1 letter, they both teach seminary, their middle initials and first names are the same.  The list goes on.  Somehow the youth in charge had been communicating with both of them and didn't know it!  It turned out to be such a great meeting.  Our Brother Butler was so hilarious and entertaining and inspiring.  I know why the kids love him.  He focused on how we are all brothers and sisters who fought a war in Heaven before we came down to earth.  We fought there to save each other and to have the opportunity to come to earth to be tested and to again, save one another.  He said we are rescuers of one another, and how we are all on missions our entire lives.   It was awesome.  I am so grateful for the friend that found me, in a miraculous way, and rescued me and gave me the gift of the gospel.

Today was going to be another crazy day.  Luckily Hilary and I were able to squeeze in some fun time with her best friend and his wife (who happens to be my niece).  We went to a few stores and grabbed some lunch.  They are fun because they think Hilary is as funny as I do.  She says and does  the funniest things.   A lot of times when you point out something to her that's small or cute, she will say "that's for Tatum".  I love that because it means she still thinks of her in the present.    The best part of our errand running was the great find at the Halloween store.
Here is little Hilary dressed up as the Yo Gabba Gabba character Fufa, holding the DJ Lance Rock costume.  Start praying now that he will wear it.  Can you imagine?  How can he say no to that face?!

Tonight I got to help Hayden complete a Cooking assignment from his foods class.  Luckily it was stir fry!!  Remind me to never let my kids miss that assignment.  I was ready to put the vegetables in whole.  It's not his fault for certain.  I mean who is his mother that has not taught him around a kitchen to this point in his life?!   It was actually pretty fun.  The bonus was that dinner was done!

I went to do a service project for the hospital tonight at a ward in Provo.  When I do these I usually tell a little bit about my story and why I do what i do at the hospital.  I have not done this since Tatum died, so on the drive down I was trying to organize my thoughts.  My impression was to tell them of all of the miracles that have happened along the journey of my life, even through the really hard times.  I got a few sentences in to my introduction of myself when the ward that was next door having their talent show activity started getting real rowdy.  There was music and clapping and singing.  it was actually quite hilarious.  I muddled through.  It wasn't my best presentation, but like I said, sometimes you just have to laugh.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Live for the Lessons..

It has felt like the past few weeks have been a little rough.  I have been having flashbacks, much like I would imagine someone with PTSD would have.  Only I am flashing back to the last few weeks with Tatum, and what could have been different to keep her here with us a little longer.  My brain cannot stop sending these flash backs and I feel like it is making me a little crazy.  I am nervous sometimes that my filter might slip off and I may say something that I regret.  I don't every want to be offensive to people, but right now I feel like i can't make any promises.  You've all been forewarned.
So tonight Lance and I were going to a dinner for our surrounding neighborhoods (our stake).  I love these kind of things, or at least I used to.  Right now I have sever anxiety about meeting new people, and at this there was a good chance that we would have to talk to people that we don't know.   When we walked in we spotted a few tables with people that we know.  We stopped and talked for a minute.  One of our neighbors were sitting at a table by themselves so Lance walked over to sit by them.  All I saw was a potential for 2 other couples that we didn't know to sit by us.  Guess what happened, exactly that!  The couple next to us introduced themselves and we talked for a second then we all went and got our food.  It wasn't long before the lady next to me was commanding the conversation, or maybe monopolizing it.  That was fine with me, less chance to have to answer questions.  Before I knew it she was talking directly to me, then the dreaded question came, "What ages are your kids?"  I decided to tell it all to see if it even stopped her for a second from talking.  I told her our oldest would be 20, but he died when he was 18 months old, then we have a 17 year old, a 16 year old a 13 year old a 10 year old a 3 year old and we would have a one year old but she died about 4 months ago.  She paused for a minute, didn't ask how they died or consider that our youngest had just barely died before she started vomiting her miracle story of her youngest all over me.  She was born at 36 weeks and it is a miracle that she is alive.  Then I got the ENTIRE life story of this 10 year old girl.  Honestly, what a moron!  Just a heads up, it kind of hurts to hear the "miracle" stories when your daughter is the one that just barely died.  Just saying.   It wouldn't have been so bad had I known this lady from Adam.  I am not sure she took a breath the entire night.  I was exhausted by the end of the night.  I was grateful that I was able to keep my PTSD remarks in check, cause I was sure thinking them.

On a nicer note, I wanted to share the cutest story about Holden.  Holden is always so quiet.  Because of this I don't always write about him.  He really is such a sweet boy.  When we were in California and he and Hayden were fighting, they both got grounded because they  would. not. stop.  Later, Holden came up and asked me if Hayden was going to loose his Birthday party because he was grounded.  That sounded like a good idea to me, but I told him no, that they would only be grounded until Friday, so we could celebrate his birthday on Saturday.  Holden said, "Ok, because I was going to say I could take his grounding if he was going to loose his party "  It was a proud moment to think that he had that much love and respect for his older brother even though he often treats him like junk.  Holden certainly has the forgiving heart.

This afternoon Halea was practicing her face painting skills on Hilary because she was volunteering at one of the school carnivals and she was the face painter.
Holden and Hilary were good sports.  I think that Hilary enjoyed it a little more than Holden did.

 This was a kids meal toy  It came with a hat that has donkey ears on it and she was running around hee hawing.  It was too funny.
Sporting her new Dora jammies from her cousin in California
 It is dreaded Friday so one of my friends brought me flowers.  I will never be able to adequately thank everyone that has held my hand through this really hard journey.   I can't even put into words how much I have been missing Tatum.  I read a few of my blog posts that I wrote before she died and I just want to zap myself back there.  I feel like I am in a bad dream and I can't escape it.  I am freaking out because I feel myself forgetting what she felt like to hold.  Yesterday Hilary wanted me to paint her fingernails and I had flashbacks of painting Tate's.  What I wouldn't give to bring her back.  I miss taking care of her so much.   I miss seeing the interactions with her and the other kids.  I miss kissing her and smelling her.  I just can't even explain the emptiness.
I have been thinking a lot about how I have made it this far.  How has my heart continued to beat in my chest despite it's complete brokenness?  How have I continued to breath?  How have I continued to get out of bed every morning even though I do not ever want to start yet another day without her here?  The only explanation I have is that the Savior has filled in where I could not.  I do my best and He does the rest.  I have put my whole faith in Him and I have been carried these past few months.  There is no other explanation.  What I feel like I have tried to do for my part of the whole deal is to try and stay close to the spirit.  I try to invite the spirit into my life.  I know, now, more than I ever did how vital this is to the survival of our spirit.  I think that when we stop searching to feel the spirit, is when the door is opened for Satan to put fear and doubt in our minds about what we know is true.  If I allow myself to go for long periods of time without feeling the spirit or recognizing the Savior in my life, that is when the pervasive evilness of the world can creep into my thoughts and I forget my purpose.  We are at a time when we can not be too careful in protecting ourselves.  I am sure this is one of the great lessons that Tatum came to specifically teach me.  She left me yearning for the feeling that I had around her.  I felt it with Trevin too, but I had become so busy that I had forgotten how much I needed that feeling always in my life.  I am not  perfect at creating the environment to have those feelings close all of the time, what with the crazy thoughts I was having while the lady was vomiting her life story all over me tonight.  But I am trying my darnedest to stay focused.  I want to always honor the lessons that I have learned from being their mom.  I am lucky in so many ways.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

California Dreamin...

I think the title says it all.  How can I not miss this?  Especially when I woke up this morning and the temperature on our outside thermometer read 29 degrees.  Are you kidding me?  I can already feel the Seasonal Affect Disorder setting in.
This is the hotel that we stay at.  You literally walk from your room past the pool, across the boardwalk to the beach.  It is the only way to stay in California.
Beauty every night, right from our balcony.
This was the view from our balcony.  I keep clicking my heels, and nothing!

It was a little hard coming home, especially on Tuesday cause we walked in the door and immediately had to get ready for the activity that night at the church.  It was a really fun activity, it just made for a really long day.  Especially because the car ride home was quite long, so long that everyone but Hilary and Halea are grounded:)  If that sets the stage for ya at all.

It was good to get home and find all was well at home, and sleep in our own bed.

This morning I had a call to the hospital, so I got a late start on my run/walk.  I was almost going to stay inside and do the treadmill, because it seemed a little cold and Hilary was not feeling her best.  But my friend called and so I ended up running down and walking with her for a bit.  Then I took a route that I never take. As I was getting close to my house I saw one of my friends coming my way.  I hadn't seen her for a little while and so she walked with me for a bit so we could catch up.  She started telling me all of the hard things that she was experiencing and I felt awful for her.  Again, another example of the fact that we are all going through really hard things.  I have thought about her all day.

The rest of the day was good.  I still feel like it takes me twice as long to get things done.  I feel like I totally move in slow motion or something.  I am just easily distracted or something.  I try not to stress over things because I know that eventually it will all get done, just maybe not when I want them done.  Which I have learned is fine.

This afternoon I was able to go and watch Halea run in her last Cross Country race for her High School career.  What a great experience it has been for her.  I am so proud of her for sticking with it.  It is not an easy sport, it takes a lot of time and commitment.  But the rewards have been great.  She has made a lot of really great friends that hold the same values as her.  I will really miss all of these kids as they all go their different directions after High School.  They have been so sweet with Halea.  A few years ago when Halea was in California on a Cross Country road trip Hilary had her febrile seizure.  I had to tell her over the phone, all the while trying to reassure that Hilary was fine and not to worry.  She seemed OK on the phone, but I think after she got off the phone she totally broke down.  Her friends and her coaches all rallied around her, prayed with her, gave her a blessing and helped distract her from worrying.  Little did we know that a little over a year later would be the real test.  They truly walked with her this past 10 months from when Tatum got sick until now.  They are all so sweet about it.  It has been a blessing as a mother to know that  she is surrounded by people who really care about her.  Great group of kids.  If your kids ever ask what sport they should do in high school, yell cross country!

Halea at her last cross country meet.

One of our friends from our first married ward that had come and visited us in December saw Halea at her meet today, right after I had left.  She gave them my cell number and called me tonight.  There number had been disconnected before I could call and tell them all that had happened with Tatum.  I had felt really awful for several months that I hadn't got in contact with them.  It seemed like every time I had gone to send them an email, I would get distracted or I just couldn't think of what to say.  After talking for a bit she asked how our family was doing and I was able to tell her a brief synapses of what happened.  I am sure she was shocked.  It just isn't ever what you expect to hear from someone.  I guess people might start expecting horrible things when they talk to us after it has been awhile.  That will teach them to call!  They moved really close to us so I am so excited to go and visit with them and I am so relieved that they know.  It was really bugging me.

Tonight as everyone was settling into bed, I pulled out Trevin's autopsy report so I could find the name of the pathologist that performed it and wrote down Alpers Syndrome.  One of my friends husbands works with the Medical Examiners office and might know him.  I wanted to get an address so I could send him a thank you note.  That probably seems weird, but they have to have the most thankless job in the world and so I am sure that they never get thank you notes.  If it weren't for him we would have had to put little Tater Bug through a lot of crazy testing like we did with Trevin.  He saved us a lot of time and just torture for her.  As a mother that is a priceless gift.  We knew immediately what we were dealing with, because of him.

As I was looking at the autopsy report, Halea came up and was asking questions about it.  I told her what I was doing with it.  She asked why none of the doctors had ever seen that disease on his report.  I told her the only explanation was a miracle.  Had we known that was what it was, we would have never had our next six beautiful kids.  What a true miracle.  I am sure that most would not look at it that way, but we have to.  I know that is what it is.  I will praise my Heavenly Father for it for the rest of my days.

Something that I was thinking about a lot today was the blessings that obedience brings.  No one is ever perfectly obedient, but I know that Heavenly Father and our Savior know when we are trying our hardest.  And they in turn bless us, often times without us knowing.  Lance and I early on in our marriage made some decisions in our conduct and in how we do and obey certain commandments, that I know we have been blessed for.  (again, we are soooooo not perfect so don't take this the wrong way)  Sometimes people have teased us and razzed us for some of these things, but the more and more wicked this world becomes the more and more grateful I am for those decisions.  I am grateful that our kids have grown up knowing and practicing in some of those same decisions.  I just know that you can't ever be too obedient or "too safe".   I would much rather be erring on the over obedient side.  I am grateful really for Lance, cause if anyone knows me, it probably wasn't my idea to make those decisions.  I am just grateful for a lot of things tonight.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sweet 16..

October 13, 1997.  Seems like just yesterday.  Until I think back at all that has happened in those 16 years, then it can seem like an eternity.  When Hayden was born Lance and I still had such apprehension about the health of our kids because the doctors had no diagnosis for what had happened to Trevin.  Since Halea seemed to be healthy we thought that maybe it was a disease that would only affect our boys, because the doctors had brought that up as a possibility.  So we were excited for Hayden to come, but also very nervous.  What if we had to endure the pain of watching another one of our sweet babies be sick like Trevin.  We tried really hard to not think about it and just enjoy.  As Hayden started meeting his mile stones and seemed "healthy" we felt a huge weight lifted.  Hayden was a crazy little toddler, but fun.  He didn't cry nearly as much as Halea.  He always had a smile.  He has always been active and fun.  It is crazy to think that he is 16.  He can date and had we been on schedule he would have been able to drive a car.  Luckily neither of us has been very motivated to get the steps done for a drivers license.  I don't think that he is ready, and we certainly don't want to pay for insurance for him.  So it is a win win situation.  He is becoming such an awesome young man.  He was always so sweet with Tatum, and still is very tender when he speaks of her.  I know that part of her purpose was specific for him.  I love them both for that.'

This week was a fall break for our kids so we had planned to go to California for a few days, stopping in St. George on the way down to visit with our good friends.  It was hard for me to get too excited about going because I feel like I just don't want to do anything big that Tatum is not going to be a part of.  I don't want to make new memories.  I know that I have to, though.

We were going to leave on Wednesday, but we ended up staying in town until Thursday afternoon so that we could attend the funeral of our sweet neighbor.  I am really glad that we did.  I actually really like funerals.  I think that it is where I receive the most spiritual feelings sometimes.  The veil is so thin.  I imagine that lots of angels are allowed to attend such events.  If you go in the right spirit you I know you can be taught.  It was a really great celebration of her life.  Not a perfect life, but one that was filled with good things and three sweet girls that her and her husband were able to raise to adulthood.  There were so many people that came to pay respect it was a true reflection of the love that people had for her and her family.  All of the family that spoke did a really good job.  The closing song was sung by the UVU choir and Alex Boye.  A song called "I Will Rise".  Seriously one of the most spiritual songs I have ever heard.  I was so grateful that we stayed, even just to hear that.  There is a professional video on youtube.  If you have a second I highly recommend watching it.  The choir came into the chapel and lined the aisles and Alex Boye and the two other soloists were up front.  It was so amazing to have them right in the audience singing.  After they were done singing, most of the audience was sniffling and crying.  As I watched the choir leaving, many of them were crying too.  I am sure that none of them knew my neighbor, it was just such a sweet spiritual song.  Through the Savior, we can accomplish all, including conquering death.  Watch it!

As soon as the funeral was over we packed up and headed out.  The weather was a little sketchy on the way down, but we made it safe and sound without incident.  We had a quick fun visit with our friends and when we woke up the next morning we headed out.  When we pulled into California I thought to myself, How did I ever leave this?   I always feel so calm and peaceful when I am at the beach.  When I was in high school it was where I used to escape to think and be calm.  It still has that same affect on me.   As soon as we got to our hotel we changed and went right to the beach.  I really could have sat there for the next 3 days.  Hilary was loving it, the older kids were loving it.  It was pure peace.  I am sure that I would get nothing done in my real life if I still lived here.  I am sure that is why I ended up in Utah.  As I sat there it made me a little sad that we had never made it here with Tates.  It just got so busy after she was born and then before we knew it she was sick.  Everything went so fast.

Friday evening Halea and I went running on the boardwalk.  This is my very favorite thing to do and now I have someone to go with me.   Well, kind of.  She is not the funnest running partner.  I thought we were just out for a casual run, so I would try and run next to her and she would speed up.  Then I would get next to her again and then she would speed up again.   Brat!  She just has too much competitiveness in her, she has to be in front.  Too much of her mother in her.  And her dad.  I still enjoyed it anyway because I ran faster than I usually am right now and I really didn't end up that far behind her.  Not bad for the person who birthed you, ya little stinker.

When we got home Lance and I walked to a little whole in the wall Mexican food place and got a big platter of taquitos and nachos and quesadillas.  It wouldn't be a real trip down memory lane without some cheap greasy Mexican food.

The next day we went to my moms to visit with my side of the family.  My mom had put together a party for Hayden.  Most of my family was there and two of my moms friends were there.  One of them was a lady that I used to stay with when I was little.  It was fun to see her because she was like a second mom growing up.  As I sat there at the table I was looking around at everyone and contemplating all of the hard things that each of them had been through and many are still experiencing really hard things.  None of us escape.  Nor do we want to really.  Otherwise we would be pretty shallow, untested people.  It is how we react to such things  that creates our character.  Darn it, I wish there was an easier way.  Being with my family brought up some fun memories of growing up.  As a young teenager who could have guessed where we would all be at today.  As I looked around the table, I feel like my life turned out really good.  I am one of the lucky ones if you can believe that.  I guess its all in your perspective, but I feel lucky to have my beautiful family a good husband and a knowledge of the gospel that gives me hope and purpose everyday.  I thought a lot about this when I would walk on the boardwalk and see the funny people that have obviously lost their knowledge of who they are.  Or the party people that were all out on Friday and Saturday night being crazy and drinking and swearing like sailors.  I just felt sad for them.  That could have been me.   My path of losing our sweet children has been so hard, but the path that those people are on seems so hopeless and unfulfilled.    It made me really grateful for my life.

Saturday night we went and met Lance's family at the Bay and had a bonfire.  It was really fun to see all of their little kids running around and playing together.  There are 9 kids 7 and under.  Lances sister has 4 boys, three of which have had kids.  My kids really missed out on the experience of growing up with cousins and so they think it is so fun to watch all of them interact.  They are so funny with each other and they love each other.  Two of the brothers have little babies that are just about a year.  It is so hard to see them and watch them and know that  Tatum should be right there with them.  At one point one of the babies got handed to Halea.  I was wondering how she would handle it, if it would make her sad.  She seemed to do fine.  Through the night I had the chance to hold each of them too.  It was nice to fill my arms for a second.  It's never the same as holding the one you miss, but it is nice for a bit.  I was so grateful for all of them taking the time to come and be with us and to organize all of it.  It is amazing to see them all as dads.  They were always so fun with our kids when they were little, I knew that they would be good dads.  They have all grown up to have cute families, and they hang out together and their kids all know each other.  It is how family should be.  It was just fun.  My kids found a million stinky shells to haul home, so I think that the night was a success for everyone.  As we were packing up to leave one of my nephews asked if Hayden could go to a movie with him and then he would drive him back to the hotel.  Hayden had fun doing that, lucky.

Sunday we woke up and got ready for church.  Hilary and I took a little walk on the boardwalk and then we  packed up and went to church.  There were a few people that had moved into Lance's sisters ward since we had been there last, that Lance had grown up with one of them, and I had grown up with another.  Weird.  After sacrament meeting Hilary went right into nursery.  You never know how she is going to react, so that was nice.  The last hour I went into YW with the girls.  There were about 7 girls there.  A little different than our 40 ish girls.  Always nice for our girls to realize how lucky they are.  Some times we take things for granted.

After church we decided to take a drive to a few places where Lance and I had grown up so we could show the kids where we had come from.  They had seen it before but it has been several years, so we thought it would be fun now that they are older.  We went to my first house in California and where I attended K, 1st grade and 4th grade. ( there was a break when we lived in Tennessee for a few years)  Then we went to where I lived when I was in 5-12th grade.  They had really cleaned up the apartment complex I used to live in.  It looked much nicer than the last time we saw it.  Then we went inside the Catholic church that I used to go to.  I think I went mostly because on Saturdays they had yummy homemade donuts.  It looked just like I remembered it.  Then we went to Lances old house.  He lived there literally all of his life, until he went to college after his mission.  We looked around for a few minutes but we were too scared to ask the people if we could come inside.  We decided to go and knock on the next door neighbors house.  It was one of Lance's best friends growing up.  just as we were entering the gate, she pulled up.  Perfect timing.  She insisted on walking us over to Lance's old house and asking the neighbors for a tour because she knows them.  Sure enough the nice lady let us in.  Lance had a good time walking around inside and then walking around outside on the property.  As he was talking to the lady that lived there I was talking to his friends mom.  I told her about Tatum because she knew that we had another little girl after Hilary and then I told her that Lance's sister had died last year.  I was so glad that we were able to tell her about Tates in person rather than through our Christmas letter.  She has always been so sweet to send us something with each of our babies so I would have felt bad for her to find out that way.  Again, she also has her struggles.  Her son that Lance was good friends with lives on the streets and is addicted to drugs and alcohol.  Such a tragedy what has happened to him.  She says she never gives up hope but she is very scared for him.  Worst nightmare as a parent.   It was so fun to visit and walk down memory lane.  Some of it just feels like yesterday that we were there.  It was a really fun day.

We went back to Lance's sisters house for some dinner and the cousins came over again.  What a mad house with all of those little kids.  Hilary was not sure what to think.   Then they started playing music and all of the little kids got out on the floor and had a little dance party.  It was so funny.    On the way home we stopped at my moms for a bit and visited.  Hilary slept through the entire visit because she was so exhausted from the dance party.

I think that Hayden had a good birthday.  We have all had a good visit to California.  It is our last morning here.  It was so hard to leave the safety of my bubble at home of people who know what has happened in our life.  So hard to be here without Tatum, but I am so grateful for the time that I have had here to feel the calmness in my soul.  There is something about this place that reminds me of where I have come from.  It gives me strength.   It has been good for me. I am, however, ready to get home and not live out of a suitcase, have sand in all of my stuff, sleep in the same room with all of our kids (especially since Hilary wet the bed last night, what do you do about that in a hotel? oops sorry, oh boy) live off Bugals and crackers and candy, be able to walk barefoot on our floor and snuggle up to the sheets cause I know they are clean (I have watched way too many Dateline specials on the cleanliness of hotels! )  And we miss our dog, I really hope she is still alive:)
I am going to repost some fun pictures when I get home to my regular computer because I cannot figure out how to get pictures to where I can access them.  Somehow I go this one to work.  It is a random picture of the boardwalk.  Go figure?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

There is Light, Even in the Darkness..

Well, General Conference did not disappoint!  It was amazing.  I have always felt like every six months we get a shot in the arm telling us that we are doing great, but here are some things we can work on, and you can do it.  I haven't every felt overwhelmed or chastised, even when there are specific things that really apply to me.  I have always just felt inspired to improve or do a little better.  We get that every week when we go and partake of the sacrament, which is an equally amazing gift, but there is something fantastic and uplifting about general conference that just makes me feel so renewed.  There was so much meat in the talks I just couldn't wait to hear them again, so I started re listening to a few this afternoon.  The past few days have been a little hard for me, not sure why.  I just can't seem to shake the heaviness in my heart and in my physical self.  Some days when I am riding my bike and the wind is relentlessly pushing against me and I feel like I am trying to push a thousand pounds, it feels like how I feel emotionally some days.  I know that I just have to keep pushing through, but it is just so exhausting and hard.

What better thing to do when you feel like junk you ask?  Obviously it would be a great idea to finally bust open the pictures that your friend took at Tatum's funeral.  NOT.  Well, against my better judgement I did.  I had been doing some other things on the computer and the disc was sitting there, so I decided that I wanted to just look at them quick.  First of all, I looked hideous.  I just do not photograph well, especially in candid shots.  It was nice to look back and see who was there.  There was a picture of the boys helping to carry Tatum's casket that just made my heart so sad.  What grown up young men.  They have carried a heavy burden these past 9 months, knowing that their sister was going to die, watching her get sicker and sicker, holding her hand as she left this world and then helping to carry her casket to its final resting spot.  Most grown men won't have to do such things.   They  just make me proud to be their mother.  Then there was a picture of Halea touching the casket at the cemetery, sort of her last good bye to her sweet baby sister that she had so lovingly and willingly helped at every opportunity.  I could not have survived the past 9 months without Halea and Heidi and their willingness to help whenever needed.  They learned how to work all of the machines and they knew what all of the numbers meant.  They helped take care of their sweet sister right along with me.  So grateful for their tender hearts.  I know that will be a bond between all of us that can never be severed.  I was grateful for the pictures that my friend had taken.  It brought back a lot of tender moments, but that was  OK.

Yesterday I needed to go and help a family down at Utah Valley hospital.  It was a really sad case.  They had several other children that they brought in to see their baby.  That was really hard to see because I saw my own children in them.  I just wanted to wrap them all up and take it all away from them.  While I was at the hospital I ran into our occupational therapist at the hospital.  She and I go way back.  She was Trevin's occupational therapist.  She is a great lady and I hadn't seen her since Tatum died.  She came over and gave me a big hug and asked how we were doing.  I told her "Crappy, but OK".  She smiled.  She understands.   She has worked with a lot of families in my situation.  Again, it just feels nice to be around people that know me and my family.

A few days ago a friend of mine that lives in Arizona sent me a text showing her little girl in a pair of "Brobie" jammies!  She said that she got them in the little boys section of Walmart.  On my way from the hospital I couldn't resist stopping and at least looking to see if they had them.
Bonus!  They had Brobie and Pilax!

Hilary was in bed when I got home so this morning I showed them to her.  She said "those are Tatum"s, and Trevin's.  Then she said that she wanted to wear them, all day she said it.    I totally forgot to get a picture of her all dressed up tonight.   I will post one next time.

We are getting ready to go on our trip to California.  I am sure that is part of the sadness.  I don't really want to go anywhere, I really don't want to try and have fun.  I will try to be a good sport.  I went and stocked up on all of the yummy snacks for the trip.  That's something right?

I am grateful for my heart and my eyes that allow me to still see the hand of God in my life everyday, despite the darkness that prevails some days.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Friday Had to Come Before We Could Have Our Sunday...

It has been a crazy couple of days.  I will try and keep things brief, you know how good I am at that:)

My friend and I had decided to take the kids somewhere fun on Thursday.  It is starting to get a little cold so in order to avoid the stir craziness of being cooped up in the house we thought that we could take them to the aquarium.  We were all set and then we realized that the aquarium is temporarily closed because they are moving to a bigger place.  Typical.  So we decided to bring them to Chuck E Cheese's instead.  When we got there all I could think about was the last time that I was there.  We had gone there for my friends sons birthday party in January.  Her sister was there with her little girl that was just a week or so older than Tatum.  By January I already knew that something was wrong with Tatum, but I had no medical confirmation so I had not said anything because I did not want people to think that I was crazy.  I remember watching this other little girl and feeling just sick.  There was such a marked difference in their abilities.  I just can't believe that it was just 10 months ago that my life was so different.  The kids had a fun time and I was glad that we brought them, but it was a little hard being there.

Later that day a friend brought me some of her beautiful pink roses.  When I was dropping something off to her house a few days earlier I had said something about how pretty her roses were.  Her bushes were so tall and just full of flowers!  Some people are so much better at listening and then acting.  I listen and then I forget.  She brought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers to brighten my day.

Thursday night we started going over what was going to happen the next day because it was going to be a busy one.  The first thing that we had was a seminary morning side (devotional) at the high school at 6:30.  Halea had to be there at 6:00 am because she is on the seminary council.  I asked her if I could come and listen because it was going to be one of my favorite people ever, Sister Elaine Dalton (former YW President of the LDS church).  She had been the YW President since Halea entered Young Women and so I have just loved her forever.  She is such a dynamic speaker and has such a glow and loveliness about her.  I was so excited that she was coming to the high school to talk to our youth.  This is why it was such a blow when Hayden announced that he was not going to the morningside.  I said, "yes you are".  The gloves came off and the fight ensued.  In the end Hayden ended up grounded for back talking and being disrespectful and using his agency he did not attend the devotional.  I was so sad.  Not because he didn't do what I wanted him to do.  I am a big believer in putting yourself in the right spot at the right time.  I know that is how the spirit can speak to you sometimes, when you are obedient and trying to place yourself where you think that Heavenly Father would have you go.  That is when you can receive special, personal revelation and answers.  I just want Hayden to be where he should be to show devotion and love and respect for our Heavenly Father.  I also know that I cannot force him to understand or believe the way that I do.  Sometimes we have to let these crazy teenagers make their own choices.  Absurd, but true.  Hayden, like myself, is one who is going to have to make his mistakes to learn for himself because that is exactly how I am.  Bad trait to inherit.  So, Halea and I left on Friday morning without Hayden.  I was so sad.

As I sat and watched all of the kids file in I was overwhelmed at all of the kids that had sacrificed extra sleep to be there to listen to this amazing lady.  Halea was the one in charge of contacting Sister Dalton to confirm the date with her and so she got to introduce her by reading her bio sheet.  Then she got to sit by her during the meeting.  It was pretty exciting because we just love her.  When Sister Dalton came to the pulpit, she got a little choked up and said how overwhelmed she was by the spirit she felt looking out at all of the faces.  The spirit was strong.  She did not look at a paper or a note for the next 40-45 minutes.  I could have listened to her all day.  She speaks with such conviction and love for the youth.  I was so grateful to be there.    She told the youth that the world would have them think that they are just ordinary, but they are not ordinary.  Halea posted this favorite quote:  " Satan is using every way he can to Disqualify, Distract and Delay the blessings that are yours for the taking.  Don't allow him to deceive you.  Remember your noble heritage."  So true.  What a way to start off a Friday.

I got home and quickly got ready and ran to the school to bring Halea her lunch that we didn't have time to pack in the morning.  Then Hilary and I went to one of the hospitals that I work at to help a family.  The nurses were so cute and entertained Hilary so I could go and visit with the patient.  I don't do that very often because that is probably distracting to the nurses.  My schedule was pretty tight, so this was the easiest alternative, so I didn't have a lot of choice.  Luckily Hilary cooperated, because sometimes she can be a real stinker.  One time she just growled at the nurses.  This is why I have not done this very often with her.  I used to bring Heidi and Holden once in awhile and they were always so good and polite.  Not Hilary!  She beats only to her drum.  After the hospital and carpool I was taking the kids up to Park City to see Halea run in her cross country meet.  As I was leaving the hospital Hayden texted me to see if it was too late for him to come to Park City with us.  I was pretty excited that he wanted to spend time with us at all, especially after our little tif.  He had told me the day before that he did not want to come.  After I got his text I told him that of course I would come and get him.  When I picked him up we had a nice talk about the events of the day before.  He was very remorseful and we talked about his choices.  He promised that he would go to the next devotional because he knew that he had made a wrong choice.  The poor kid got a lot of my stubbornness.  I know that deep down he wants to make the right choices, but not if I tell him to.  I have to learn to keep my big mouth shut.

We all piled in the car, went and picked up my niece and her husband and off to Park City we went.  We stopped and did a little shopping and then we went to the race.  It was absolutely freezing.  The poor kids were having to run in their little racing shorts and tank tops and nothing else.  We had to wait awhile for Halea's race, but for the most part everyone was pretty patient.  Halea had a great race.  It was fun to watch the other kids cheer for her.  Hilary thought it was so fun.  I love the group of kids that Halea runs with.  As a parent you just couldn't pick a better group of friends.
Halea is the one in the purple tank top.
Here she is layered up trying to stay warm.  We were thinking she was looking like she was in the fat booth. Good thing she has great self esteem.

The next and final event for the day was Retro Prom.  My friend had been wanting to have a prom for her birthday for 7 years, and her husband and friends were finally making her dream come true.  She is hilarious. I had gone to DI on Thursday and found what I am sure is an old bridesmaid dress for 12 dollars.  I am sure it was a 100 dollar dress.  Score.  Lance was a good sport even though he did not understand or get it!  Sometimes we just do things to please each other and we don't ask any questions.  The kids thought we were hilarious.  I could not get my hair to stay big enough, even with all of the hairspray.  It was pretty close to how I wore it to my own prom.  Funny.

We had a fun time dancing to the old 80's tunes.  The decor was perfectly late 80's early 90's so it really reminded me of our wedding.  Hilarious.

This morning when I woke up I realized that I had a dream about my neighbor that was diagnosed with cancer almost two years ago, right at the same time as Lance's sister was diagnosed.  Today is the 1 year anniversary of Becky's death.  What an awful day.  I though that my neighbor was going to die, right around when my sister-in-law was dieing, but she ended up getting better for a little while.   She has been suffering so much these past few months.  We have just been waiting to hear.  When I woke up from my dream this morning I though that I probably had a dream about them because I was thinking about Lance's sister.  A few hours after I woke up my neighbor sent me a text telling me that our neighbor and friend had lost her battle with cancer.  We just forget how very close the spirit world is.  I am grateful for that knowledge.  It gives me comfort to think that our sweet kids can continue to know what we are doing and that they might even get the chance to help us if it is Heavenly Father's will.  I was so relieved for this sweet lady to be out of her painful body, and so happy for the reunion that she was having with her two sweet children that are on the other side.  So sad for her family that now has to soldier on and learn to deal with her absence.  She was just too young.

I found it very strange that my neighbor died on the same day that my sister-in-law did, just a year a part.  The even stranger thing that my niece and I put together as we were visiting in Park City was that Trevin, Tatum and Becky all died on a Friday.  My first knee jerk reaction was to really really hate Fridays.  Then I remembered the talk given by Elder Wirthlin, "Sunday Will Come".  He talks about that awful Friday that the Savior was lifted up on the cross.  That Friday was the worst of all Friday's, but it was also the beginning of the Resurrection and the miracle of the Atonement.  Without that Friday, the Sunday would never have come to be.  Trevin and Tatum and Becky dieing on Friday seems very symbolic to me.  Yet another constant reminder of the Atonement and its reality.  Yet another gentle reminder and manifestation made to me by a loving Heavenly Father.  I know that our Sunday will come.

We spent the next few hours listening to the General Conference talks from the leaders of our church.  I cannot seem to hear enough.  They were all so inspiring.  One that really struck me was of course Elder Hollands talk.  A few things that he said were something to the effect of, "If your miracle doesn't come and it isn't the Father's will for your trial to be taken away, drink the bitter cup and move forward."  The cup was not taken from the Savior either.  The other thing that he said at the end of his talk was that one day we would get to see our children that were born with disabilities with their healthy perfect bodies and how glorious that will be.  There were so many things that jumped out at me.  Lot's of things to improve in my life.

About a week ago a friend in my neighborhood brought over a check for some money to go towards buying a Trevin and a Tatum tree.   A few days ago I went to the garden center that one of our old neighbors works at.  We had texted back and forth and I gave her some parameters of trees that I was looking for.  When I got to the store, she had already picked out several for me to look at and choose. She said that she had been thinking about it all summer as she was working.  Looking for the perfect Tatum tree.  I was so grateful that she had done that.  I just don't have the energy to make suck decisions or spend a lot of energy researching things.  We decided on a Golden Ash (I think that's what it was called)  for our Trevin tree and a flowering almond for our Tatum tree.  I wanted something bigger and strong for the Trevin tree and something sweet and ornamental and flowering for Tatum's tree.   I am so grateful for all who donated for this amazing gift.  I can see the trees from my kitchen window.  What a joy it will be to look out in the spring and see that sweet little tree bright pink with flowers on it.   During the second session of conference today Lance and the kids and I all went outside and planted those trees.

Hayden and Lance and Hilary helping plant Trevins tree.
Tatum's tree is the littler one in the front of the picture, Trevin's tree is right behind her, tall and strong, like a big brother ought to be.  Symbolic.

While the men went to the Priesthood session my niece and her husband and me and all of the kids, except for Hayden who went to Priesthood with Lance, went to Little America in Salt Lake.   To celebrate Lance's sister we wanted to go to her favorite place to eat.  We got the turkey dinner and salads with bleu cheese dressing.
She was a real foody.  I am really glad this was her favorite dish, cause it was yummy.

My niece put two pieces of  her favorite See's candy in a baggie for each of us.  Her mom would have been proud.  That is totally something that Becky would have done.  My niece is so much like her mom.  They both have that Martha Stewart flare.  Something that I love and envy about them both.

These past few days have been filled with a lot of activities and a lot of emotions.  I am hopeful for a quiet peaceful morning listening to conference.  I am grateful for this time that we get every six months to listen to our prophet and the other leaders of our church.  Their inspired words and messages buoy me up and give me hope.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Good People, Part Two..

As soon as I published the last post I remembered a few more good people moments I had, and since then I have had a few more.  So here it goes.

On Sunday at our Young Women board meeting we were discussing and planning an upcoming event.  The event is focused on reviewing the year and the things that we have accomplished, focused on and done as a group of Young Women.  As we were discussing one of the leaders said that we needed to put in some pictures of the YW that sang at Tatum's funeral and the picture of Tatum that they were holding because Tatum was a big part of the girls year.  I don't know if I had thought too much about that aspect of the program for this event.  It was so sweet of the other leaders to remember Tates in that way.  I felt very strongly, during her entire life and especially after she got sick, that she was meant to come and be with these girls and be an example and a help to them.  If one girl from this group looks back on this past year and remembers in the future a lesson learned, it will be satisfying.  It just made me feel so loved that these good women that I get to work with honor and reverence her memory.  Good people in my life.

After our meeting one of the ladies stayed after with me and we had a really sweet conversation.  She has experienced loss and illness in her family also and so she has been a great support through all of this.  Another example of a good person.

The past few days I have had several people call and check on me, ask how we were doing, go to lunch, and let me just hang out at their house.  I have good people all around me taking care of me.

Despite all of this, can I just say that it is still soooo hard to get up every single day.  I don't know how people who don't have a good support system survive this heavy broken heart.

Today started off really good.   One of our YW leaders and myself were taking some girls to the Temple at 5am.  We haven't always had the greatest success at these early morning attempts.  This morning we had all of the girls that had signed up and confirmed that they were coming, come.  We even had a girl call and see if she could come while we were gathering girls in the neighborhood.  I knew that it was going to be a good day.
When we got inside the Temple, guess who was there?  Chad Lewis!  BYU football player who went on to play for the Eagles in the NFL and now he does motivational speaking and he wrote a book.  Pretty cool.  It was nice to sit and be in the temple to start off the day, even if it was at 5am.   We got home in time for me to help the kids get out the door to school.  Things were going great.

The rest of the day was pretty good.  I got a lot of things done that I needed to.  I was able to go and do some hand molds for a family that lost their 11 year old son to a tragic accident.  As I was watching that mom touch his body and hug him and smell him and talk to him and cry, it was so heart wrenching.  She kept saying that she didn't want to leave him.  That is exactly how you feel.   Part of our love for our children is so wrapped up in their physical bodies, because that is how we know them.  We just ache for that physical them.  That may have started the funk that hung around the rest of the day.  I started feeling pretty heavy, thinking of that devastated mom and then thinking about myself and how emotionally devastated I still am.  Some days it can all of a sudden just feel very heavy.

I came home in the afternoon and got everyone settled and home from school.  We had decided that we were going to go fulfill one of Lance's dreams tonight so I was telling the kids that they needed to be ready to go when dad and I got home from our bike ride.  For probably 15 years every time Lance has passed this sign in Salt Lake that says "Worlds First KFC" he has said that we need to go and eat there.  He just always thought it was cool that  the first actual KFC is right here in Salt Lake City.  A few years ago he drove by that area and he thought that the sign was gone, so he assumed that maybe they had tore the building down.  The next time that we drove by we realized  that it was still there.  Phew.  We thought that we had better act on this "bucket list" item quickly.  The other day we decided to just do it.  My niece and nephew and brother-in-law met us there.  The whole way up I was thinking about how funny of a post this would be on facebook.  Who else has such a funny bucket list item?  We are pretty ridiculous.
FYI: The chicken at the "Worlds First KFC" tastes the exact same as the one down the street in Lehi.  Lesson learned:)

 While we were driving up the entire family was giving me a hard time about posting on instagram.  They were saying that I post too much and they didn't like me posting their pictures, etc.  It kind of hurt my feelings.  I thought that I was being fun, and keeping a journal of our family events and keeping people that care up to date about our family.  I also have to say that while Tatum was sick it became very fun and therapeutic to take and post pictures of her and keep people updated on how we were all doing.  After she died I did not want to ever take another picture or video.  I do not like how our family looks now.  How could I take another picture, she will never be in another picture! I didn't take pictures or video for awhile.  Then I decided that I couldn't do that.  I need to still take pictures and document what our family is doing.  It takes every ounce of energy to make myself try and have fun and enjoy doing it.  I have tried to find joy in taking pictures again.  Now all my family could do was complain about it.  I just wanted to go home and curl up in a ball and cry.  I am sure that I am just tired, but my feelings were pretty hurt.  I wish they could understand how hard it is for me to document this very hard time in all of our lives.  I am sure I will be over it tomorrow but for right now I am just sad.  

To end on a happier note.  Last night Hilary whispered for us to pray that Tatum and Trevin would gain weight!  Hilary saves the day and is that good person in our lives, always reminding us of the important things.