My life started on its strange journey when I was 4 and my sister was diagnosed with cancer. There were, obviously, other events and circumstances that were also pivotal in my journey up to that point, but I think my sisters illness and death truly began the change in my heart that was necessary to make me who I am today. It helped me to be receptive to situations that I might not otherwise have been. I know that it left me searching for the meaning of life, which I found through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It allowed me to somehow be really comfortable around sadness and death, which has lead me to a very (as my kids put it) strange "career". I think that I am really lucky and a little "strange".
On Friday my friend that works with me at the hospital and I attended the big fund raiser that the hospital puts on to raise money for the NICU and Pediatrics and for our Common Bonds and Angel Watch programs. The food and entertainment are always really amazing, and this night was no exception. It is fun to get to witness really generous people donate large amounts of money for people they will never even meet. Amazing. There are people there that have been patients, there are nurses and doctors, people from the community. While my friend and I were eating and people watching, we both agreed that we are really lucky to get to do what we do. It is a unique opportunity to be with families as they help usher spirits to the other side of the veil. It is always tender and special, and sad. It is a really "strange" life, but it is where I feel I was destined to be. I get to meet amazing people and experience special sacred things. I would not be able to understand or appreciate it if it had not been for Trevin and Tatum. For them I will be forever grateful. They have given me a meaning and depth to my life that would have been a lot harder to discover were it not for them. They are such an important part of my journey and my families journey. We are forever better.
Friday night Halea came home from her FBLA (future business leaders of America) competition that she had been at for three days. She got a 5th place, 2nd place, 3rd place and a 1st place out of the entire state. There were 87 schools competing. Lehi only had three girls competing. A lot of the other schools had more than one team competing. So there were a lot of kids. Halea and her friend competed as a team and won 1st place in sports and entertainment marketing and now they get to go to Nationals which is in Nashville. I guess in the end of June I will be going to Nashville! She is so crazy. So proud of her hard work.
Saturday was a beautiful day. I was able to get outside for a lot of the day. I got some much needed Vitamin D. When I got home the girls helped me paint some memory boxes that I use at the hospital.
Hilary is such a crack up right now. She is in full 4 year old mode. She says the funniest things. She sings constantly. I don't remember any of the other kids singing like she does. Saturday morning I also came around the corner to find this!
Saturday night Lance and I went and grabbed some dinner. It seemed like it had been awhile since we had been able to go out, so it was nice to just sit and talk with him. He is speaking this next Sunday in a meeting and they have asked him to speak about "Enduring Trials". I think that he is worried to talk too much about his own trials. In his words, "I don't want to be that guy who had the two babies die". It is hard, but sometimes we become defined by our trials. We are put in categories. I guess I am more used to that because it is the reason that I do my job at the hospital, and so I am used to being that person that had her kids die. Sometimes I would like to not be the poster child for the cause, but if I can help even one person navigate in a more meaningful way through a difficult time, then it is worth it to me.
As we were getting ready to leave the restaurant I saw a lady that lives in our Stake. I said hello and then she approached me to ask me some questions about a family that lives in her neighborhood. As she started describing the family and the issues she was concerned about I realized that she was talking about a family that I knew. Well, I knew the mother of the family before she died a few months ago. We talked for awhile about how I might be able to maybe help them navigate through this very difficult trial of losing their mom. There are three young girls and a dad that have been devastated by this loss. I am not sure what I can do for them but I am so anxious to help because I loved their mom. I have thought of them so often, and so this was an answer to a prayer to know how I can help. Again, my strange life serves me and might allow me an opportunity that I otherwise might not have had.
Sunday was interesting. I was doing OK until I got to the last meeting. I got really teary during the opening song. A song I have never been emotional about. The words talked about the Second Coming and I guess that is a tender topic for me. Most days I am so ready for it to be here. I just miss Trevin and Tatum and I want to know what they are doing, and who they have become.
When we got home from Church, Hayden was up to his antics. I asked him to not tease Hilary because I had a headache and her screaming at him was not helping. He proceeded to ask me "why do you always have a headache?" I just looked at him in disbelief. I thought to myself, "I'll give you one guess!" Out loud I said, "Hmmm". Then he said real smarty pants like "because of us?" I thought to myself, "getting warmer, maybe narrow it down a little". When Lance came home a little while later I asked him if he would sit down with Hayden and talk to him. I don't like when our family feels contentious. It makes me worry that we are forgetting Tates mission. I know that she came partly to teach all of us what is really important in life, what matters. And that is family. Her life can't have been in vein. Lance had a good talk with him, and shortly there after we all walked to the cemetery because the weather was gorgeous.
As we were getting ready to leave for the cemetery Hilary started packing her back pack full of toys. She said that she was going to bring all of Tatum's favorite toys. I said that was nice. Lance sort of explained that we were going to the cemetery but that Tatum wasn't going to be there. On the way to the cemetery Hayden and I had a good talk. He really is a great kid, he just needs a little more direction than Halea has ever needed so I am trying to figure out how to help him. I am not always good at it. We brought some new pinwheels and wind socks to put out at the cemetery.
Monday the kids were home from school. Halea and I went to a workout class in the morning. Then we had lunch. I had a funeral, the usual. After the funeral I had a lengthy conversation with the funeral director about some issues that they are having with a hospital policy. Another normal thing in my strange life, hanging out with the morticians:)! Then I decided to go and check out the monument place to get some initial information on headstones. Yuk! I just have to get it done. It is absolutely driving me crazy that there is no marker for our sweet kids. I really liked the place that our mortuary recommended. They were upfront and very helpful. I felt relieved when I left. Like I had actually made some headway. The rest of the day felt like a wash. I think by the end I was emotionally drained. Another normal occurrence in my strange life.
For scripture study we read through some possible scriptures that we are considering putting on the kids headstone. Halea was joking that we would pick whichever one made mom cry. We read through several, including Mosiah 3:19 and the scripture that was on Tatum's funeral program Alma 7:12. I really like that one. The one that brought me to tears last night was, Alma 7:23-24 "And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive. And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works." This scripture lists all of the qualities that Trevin and Tatum possess and remind me of all that I am trying to achieve. Finalizing this headstone has been a really hard thing for me. I want it done so desperately, but it is almost impossible for me to feel committed to a design. I know that a great weight will be lifted as soon as I get this done. I'm just not sure how to get it to be perfect. I told the man at the monument place that when people read it I want it to express how these two have changed our lives, and I want people to walk away feeling joy and a desire to be better because of the love that we have for Tatum and Trevin. Not sure how we are going to accomplish that in a 30 inch space. No pressure.
This is just a sampling of the strange happenings in my life. I have always felt like my life is different. Not in a bad way. I think that we all feel different to some degree. It's all of these things that make our journeys unique and custom to us. I am grateful for the many changes that come from trials and triumphs. I hope to always be changing and progressing, in my own strange and unique way!