Let me just say that I am not a big reader. I wish that I was, but reading has always been hard and slow for me. When I was nursing my first few babies I would read books late at night, but as we had more kids, I mostly dosed off or watched infomercials while I was nursing in the middle of the night. Yes, I was one of the few people that bought the flat hose. Correction, I bought two. It probably would have been cheaper for Lance to buy formula for the babies. Anyway, in 2013 (and the first few days of 2014) I read 4 books!! I am close to finishing the Book of Mormon again and I read Stephanie Nielsen's book (the lady burned in the plane crash with her husband) Elizabeth Smart's book and a man that lives here in Salt Lake City whose wife (who was 4 months pregnant) and two of their four kids were killed by a drunk driver. Are you seeing a theme? All horrific tragedies. For some reason I am drawn to these stories. Really I lived through all of them from afar because I watched them all on the news as they were happening. I have really loved all of their messages. All of them speak and testify of the resilience of the human spirit, and that through the Atonement and grace and mercy of our Savior that we can survive anything. Not just survive, THRIVE. All of these people have gone on to really live life to its fullest. Despite the tragedy of their situations.
I have thought a lot about this idea. Not just surviving, but thriving. It is an expectation I have of our family and I think it is fair to say that is what Heavenly Father and Tatum and Trevin hope for us too. I think that this is the really hard part of grieving. Learning to truly live again. Not just exist, but live and be productive. I feel myself heading in that direction. The hard part about this decision, choice, expectation is that you can't dedicate so much time to the memory, you have to look to and pay attention to the future, and start focusing on where you want to end up. Now I know that our future includes Tatum and that her memory moves forward with me. It is just a hard concept to wrap your brain and heart around because so much energy is put into grieving such a loss of light in your life. To redirect that energy is hard. Especially when every day there are things that are a constant reminder. I love the reminders, but it can sometimes send me into sadness and my heart hurts. I have been cleaning out cupboards and rearranging things and every cupboard has something that reminds me of her. Tonight I was wiping a shelf where one of her medicines is (I haven't thrown them all away because I just can't) and it has stained the shelf, permanently (I can't imagine what that was doing to her insides). I tried wiping it off, but then I decided it was OK to just stay there. Then we were hanging her calendar tonight and so we took down our old calendar and the kids were reading through the things that Lance had written on the days. He writes our various activities so it is like a mini family journal, because I am sure the kids will not want to read this novel! Of course there were all of the dates for Tatum, the day she got sick (a big black sad face and X) the day that she died with the time of her last breath, her and Trevin's birthday, etc. The good thing is that we know that Tatum and Trevin are a part of our future and our eternity. Somehow that helps.
I have made some resolutions that I hope will help me in this journey. I am never going to be perfect at the things that I am trying to better in my self, but I am certainly not a quitter. So I hope that by making simple goals I will be able to perfect the lessons that I have learned this past year and really knit them into my heart and who I am.
A few of my goals are to improve my prayers, read some sort of scripture every day, listen more closely to promptings and act upon them, spend my time more wisely (with family and serving others) speak kinder and be more positive and appreciative to my immediate family. These are just a few things that I think if I keep them in the forefront of my mind and act on them I will see miracles in my life. These are all things that I have been working on in my life for decades. However, I think that I come at them this year with a renewed vigor and desire. I know these things will improve my life and fortify my testimony.
I started another book tonight about a family that lost their little boy in a sledding accident several years ago here in Utah (continuing with my trend). I was out of town or gone and so my friend that works with me at the hospital went and helped with this amazing family. This friend gave me the book that the mom wrote about her grief journey. I haven't read very far yet, but what i have read so resonates with me. I know that Tatum has helped to remind me of the tender feelings of grief that I had with Trevin and her so that I can better relate with the families that I get to work with at the hospital. With Trevin I feel like sometimes I can only remember the good feelings that I have had, not the hard ones. The hard ones are still very fresh with Tates and so I feel like I can empathize better with families that are in the thick of things right now.
We all need reminders to help us stay on track, help us get to where we want to go, and to remember what is important, or at least I do. Life is full of reminders, some gentle, some not so gentle, some from people we know some from strangers. All needed and helpful. I am grateful for my hard ones and my not so hard ones, from friends and from strangers.
Family Snow Shoeing. Awesome.