Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer Has Taken Over My Life....

The summer started off crazy and has not slowed down.  I always have this illusion that I am going to get to relax in the summer time.  No more schedules or homework or expectations.  It never works out that it is relaxing.  I am trying really hard to not get caught up in the small stuff like chores and having a tidy house because I know that this is our last summer as our family is right now.  Big changes are going to be coming one right after another for the next several years.  So I just want to enjoy our family and try not to stress the small, insignificant things.  I emphasize TRY.  I am not always good at this.  With this said, here is the quick synapses of June!

Our first Timp cave hike of the year with the Grahams!! I love our morning talks and walks.  I am grateful that they allow me to come and be a part of their family.  
First rose bloom in Tatum and Trevins rose garden.  These make me smile every morning.
 Hilary got to go to the zoo with my niece and her husband.  I am not sure if she had any fun, judging from that enormous smile!
This is a biggy.  We have another driver!!  Hayden was pretty nervous, because his teacher is known for being pretty tough, but he passed.  I was so proud of him for overcoming his fears.  Next, a job.
 Holden raced his way to the top of the scout bike derby.  1st Place.  He looked like a professional rider.  He was calm, cool and quietly humble with his win.  Love this kid.
 I have been on several bike rides.  This is our view.  Unbelievable.  We are lucky to live here where it is hard to forget the beauty of the earth that we get to live in.  Truly amazing.
We finally got to the cemetery and cleaned everything up and put the cute pin wheels and decorations out.  Hopefully soon we will be able to decide their headstone design and have a permanent marker as a tribute to their lives.
It wouldn't be Utah without some crazy weather.  June snow.  It was seriously freezing for a few days.  It was some good time spent in doors doing some home projects.  Heidi took it upon herself to clean her and Hilary's room, and the playroom and our organizer in our pantry.  I am not sure how we got so lucky to have her.   She has been such a big help.
I got to go to Cub scout day camp and I nearly hit a cow on the way there.  I am sure that is what the boys will remember about the entire trip!
 We have hit a few parks.  This is my favorite.  The kids spent most of the time building a dam and floating leaves.  It was the most relaxing hour of the summer.
My evil friends showered me with cinnamon rolls and cake, all in one night!  I unfortunately ate too much of both.
Wouldn't be summer without the splash pad.
 I wish that I could say that this is the harvest from our cherry tree.  We have waited for four years for our cherry tree to produce cherries.  It finally did.  We have all been watching and waiting for our sweet cherries to be ripe enough to pick.  There were quite a few and I was so excited.  I noticed that the birds were frequenting our tree.  I started asking around ti figure out how you prevent the birds from eating all of your cherries.  So I settled on hanging CD's.  Apparently the shiny reflective cd keeps the birds away.  Well, not these ridiculous birds.  I went down a few days later and there was nothing but seeds on the ground, along with my CD's!  Those crazy birds.  Luckily one of our neighbors has a very mature cherry tree that produced thousands of cherries.  I am not exaggerating.  They said that anyone who wanted some were welcome to come and pick some.  This is not even a third of what I picked.  It truly made my day.

I have been working on a few projects, one of which was fixing up our guest room.  It has always been an eye sore.  I have never liked the bedding, the curtains, nothing matched.  You get the picture.  So one of my friends came over and helped me settle on some colors, helped me pick out some bedding.  I found a new table for our TV and painted it, new curtains.  It was really fun and I am really happy with how it turned out.  Maybe we will move into this room:)

I have been trying to get out of my comfort zone a little and try some new things.  I have never been a volunteer for a race.  All of these years, nice people have helped so that I could race.  A few weeks ago I got an email from my work and they were looking for volunteers for a race that they sponsor.  I have always wanted to run this race, but they started it I think the year I got pregnant with Hilary and so it just hasn't ever been in the cards.  As I was reading the email I noticed that it said that the volunteers get a long sleeve, half zip tec shirt.  They had me at hello.  I immediately signed up to help.  It was a really fun experience.  All of the proceeds for this race go to help families going through cancer treatments.  At the end of the day I think that they raised 150,00 dollars.  It was way fun, even though I had to be up at 2:45am to get there to help load runners on the buses.  I saw a lot of my friends.  It was super fun, and the shirt turned out to be really cool.
While I was helping at the race I recognized a lady that was also volunteering.  She had delivered a baby, maybe 10 years ago that was a still born.  I asked her how she was doing and she told me that her husband had died a year before from colon cancer.  Another good reminder that we all have our burdens to carry.  And that we are never "done" with our trials.  This is a scary thought, but it is true.  I told her that I was proud of her for getting out and doing something really proactive, when she could be curled up in a ball, and rightfully so.  A real inspiration.
I have had several flashes from my past in the last couple of weeks.  I have run into or heard from several people from the hospital that have lost babies in the past.  They have all come at just the right time to, again, remind me of the perspective that I have been given.  It is a true gift.  
Halea left on Monday of this week.  She and her group from school went on their competition tour.  The first group is in Kansas city.  Her report is that it is really hot and the people are awesome.  She is having a blast. Of course as she was boarding the plane, I was planning her funeral.  She was really good about texting me at each leg of her travels.  Tomorrow she and her friend fly to their second destination, Nashville, to compete in their second competition.  I am really happy that she has this opportunity.  After this summer, her life will be different.  I hope that she takes advantage of all of the opportunities in college like she has in High School.  

I have been missing Tatum desperately these past few weeks.  I see all of these sweet little baby girls and I can hardly stand it.  Yesterday I was visiting with my neighbor and she has a little grand daughter that is about a year and a half and she kept crawling up in my lap and totally snuggling me.  It is nearly heart stopping if I think about how much I miss her, even with all of the swirling chaos around me I cannot distract my mind and my heart from feeling that longing to have her here with our family.  I am sure that will never change.  

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My One Year Assessment...

I thought that it would be interesting to take a personal assessment of where I (and we) are at one year after saying goodbye to Tatum.  I hope it will be enlightening for others, especially those experiencing their own grief, to see where others are after a year.  I know from experience working in this field that there is a lot of loneliness that accompanies grief.  That loneliness often feeds the feelings of  inadequacy, that you are not where you should be in this imaginary "time line" of grief.  I hope to dispel the myths of "normal" grieving.  If I have learned anything over the past 20 years of my own grief, and working with others for the past 14 years, it is that there is really no "norm".  And that is OK.  There are obvious patterns, but everyone, and I mean everyone, does this differently.  So with that, I thought I would share a few things that might surprise people reading this.

As we were approaching the one year mark, I wanted so badly to be angry and I didn't want the day to come.  The feelings that were causing these anxieties within me were because I knew that once we hit the one year mark, it would be time to carry on.  People don't mean to forget or place expectations, but we all have to move on to our own new life experiences, us included.  For the first year after a death, you are so focused on breathing and trying to do the bare minimum to survive the trauma of loss and missing.  You are consumed with all of the firsts without your loved one that you are almost not expected to truly participate in the life around you.  And I was really good with this.  I didn't want to have to say that Tates had died a year ago.  That sounds too long, and it still feels so fresh to me.  When you say it's been a year people expect that you are "over" it.  Well, I am not over her.  Never will be.  This did not affect me as deeply when Trevin died.  Probably because by the time we hit our year mark we were expecting little Halea.  That was going to be another life changing event and I was becoming very focused on her and the new anxiety I was having thinking about another baby, and would she be healthy or not.  I am sure this is what made a huge difference.  With Tatum, there was just the deeply painful loss.  We were not going to be able to have any more babies to come and brighten our home again.  There has just been a big hole, never to be filled.  We have had a lot of big events in our lives this year, but I still feel really numb to all of them.
 In fact I am super resistant to change.  I cut my hair, and now I hate that I look totally different than I did when Tatum was here.  We are getting ready to sell our van.  This is going to be really hard.  We bought the van because we had Tates.  We took our trips with her in that van.  I rushed her to the hospital in that van.  She took her last ride home in that van.  I know that sounds ridiculous, but I am so emotionally attached to this stupid van!  I am going to paint the kitchen, but I am having a hard time changing things in the house, even though I want to.   All of these silly, simple things trigger feelings of anxiety and sadness.

I know that a lot of people, in fact I would say most, experience a fair amount of anger when there is the death of a child.  I am one of the lucky ones that has not experienced a  lot of anger.  In fact, when our one year anniversary day arrived, I had thought a lot about what I would write on this blog.  I had a lot of angry thoughts that I thought I would write about, but as I went through the day and thought about all of the tender mercies, how could I be angry?  I just can't be there, not when I think of Tatum.  She is too sweet and tender to bring any feeling outside of joy and hope.  I would give anything to have her back, but I have a spiritual understanding of her purpose, and to stay was not her plan.  How can I be angry with the Lords purpose for her life.  Unthinkable.  I don't know why I have been given this gift of understanding, but I am forever grateful for it.  An angry heart is very hard to overcome, I am glad that has not been my challenge.  I say this with all sincerity.
So, a window in to my home.  Trevin has always been present in our home.  We have always had pictures of him hanging on our walls.  Each of the kids has always had a picture of him in their rooms.  Tatum is no different.  We have pictures of her around the house and there are a few things that are in the same place as when she was alive.  I just can't seem to put away certain things.  I am allowing things to just happen with time.  A few weeks after Trevin died one of my friends came over and helped me pack away his room and get rid of all of his medications.  I just felt like it was time.   I still have Tatum's medications in the cupboard.  Her crib is still in our room, full of pin wheels, things that people have given us and a lot of her hospital things.  We also have her little portable bed sitting in our room.  I just don't know how I will ever put them away.  Quite frankly, I am in no rush.  The other day one of the nurses at the hospital was asking me if having the big picture of Tatum up in the unit is hard because I see it every time I go in.  I honestly love it.  It reminds me, every time I see it, why I am there.  It is the same in our home.  We can never see their sweet faces too much.  It is a constant reminder of all that we know is true, especially of the Atonement and repentance and of eternal families and to be kind and loving to each other, always serving one another.  How could I ever be angry about those sweet reminders?
One year later my mind still flashes thoughts that I wish I could stop.  Last week Halea and I went up to Logan for her College orientation day.  We drove up on Sunday night and stayed over night because we had to be there early in the morning.  I just kept thinking how I would never have been able to do any of these things with Halea had the timing of Tatum's illness and death been any different.  A tender mercy for certain, but also hard to think about.  I would much rather be holding Tatum on the couch and missing some of these things, exciting as they are.  Utah State puts on a great orientation, so I am really grateful that I was able to be there.  As we were driving up I was thinking about some of the changes that are coming with mine and Halea's relationship.  In just a few months I will not always know where she is.  There are lots of outdoor activities to do and it took my breath away to think that she would be going hiking and boating and swimming without me knowing exactly where and with who.  It is her time to fly, a very scary time for us as parents.  She assured me that she would tell me or someone where she was going.  I think that she really will because I think that she understands.

Heidi left for camp the morning after we got home.  She went to the same camp that we went to when Tates was just a few months old.  I smuggled her in and she stayed up there with us all day, then she and I would drive home each night and then come back early in the morning.  I can't believe that we got away with it, but I knew I needed to be at camp and I couldn't possibly leave sweet Tater bug.  It all just worked out.  Another tender mercy.  It was weird to send Heidi off by herself.   No Halea, and no me.  
The flashing, random thoughts that grief intensifies are usually irrational, but again, unstoppable.  The other day I was in my house and I realized that Hilary had gone outside with her new bike.  I went out to check on her.   As I walked out my front door I saw my neighbors big truck parked in a weird position facing my house.  His truck was still running and I saw him climbing out of the truck.  It was partly obscured by a bush in my front yard so I couldn't see why he was getting out of the truck.   My heart started racing.   What if he had run over Hilary?!  (this is all happening in a matter of seconds)  My first thought was, "I cannot do this again"  I felt the breath leave me for just a second, then I saw him bend over and pick up his little dog!  His dog had run after him so he was stopping to pick him up so he didn't run him over.  I felt a little sick.  Yet, another tender mercy.
Just a few days later Hilary asked if she could go ride her bike in the front yard.  I said yes and that I would be out in just a minute.  I had to finish something for our dinner real quick.   After just a few minutes I went outside to check on Hilary.  She wasn't out front so I called her name to see if she was to the side of the house.   No response.  I walked around to the garage and she wasn't there and neither was her bike.  I went to the next door neighbors house to see if she had ridden her bike there.  Nope.  Now I started getting really nervous.  I shouldn't have read Elizabeth Smart's book!  I walked down a few houses calling her name.   After not finding her, for what seemed like an eternity, I decided to get in my car and search the neighborhood.  As I started walking home I thought I heard her, then I saw her about 4 houses down the street riding her bike.  As I looked closer I saw that Lance was there with her, on his bike.  He had come home and saw her out there and decided to take her around the block on her bike, without telling me.  Heart attack!!  My immediate  reaction is just always the worst case scenario.  I hope that this will decrease in intensity.  I don't like being such an alarmist!

It is an interesting transition time right now.  How do we learn to live with all of this, again?  I felt like I had conquered so many of these hard feelings with Trevin, now I am starting this journey all over again.  How can I make it another 20 years carrying this?  Here is what I know, that I can and I will.  Never on my own.  I know that through my faith in my Savior, and because of Him I can do anything that I am asked to do.  I know that.  The other day I was reading in 1 Nephi 17 where Nephi is asked to build a ship to bring his family across the sea to a promised land.  Several times throughout this chapter he says, I don't know how I will accomplish these things, but through my Savior I know that I can do anything.  Such faith.  It made me think of the two sweet friends that I have that are leaving with their husbands that have been called to be mission Presidents in pretty scary foreign lands.  They have demonstrated these Nephi like qualities.  I hope that in all of my trials I can be an example of this kind of faith.  

For Tatum's birthday we put out some calla lilis at the cemetery.  I went and picked them up after a few days to see if I might be able to transplant them in our yard.  Pie in the sky for me and my black thumb, but I thought I would give it a college try!  There are two bunches of them and one of them is doing OK, but this bunch is so delicate and beautiful and sweet and it makes me smile and think of Tater bug every time I see them.  You have to look close to notice them because they are so small, just like she was.  When you get close enough to see them, they are breath taking, just like she was.  Such a sweet tender mercy.  I am trying so hard to notice these beautiful gifts that come in to my life, literally daily.  We are going to make it, and live joyfully not in spite of this trial, but because of it.  We love you Trevin and sweet Tatum!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Best, Worst Day...

It has been another couple of very crazy busy days.  I am sure we are all sick of me starting every blog that way.  I apologize.  I just feel like sometimes I can't keep up with everything that is coming at us right now, much less trying to find solace and peace within the washing machine of regular things we need to do.
It all started with Halea's graduation day.  I say day, but really it has been over a week of activities.  I am exhausted and I only had to attend one of them.  Every night those kids had something to go to.  They were fun, but it was just a lot.  I am so happy for her though.  She has done so well, made good friends, stayed true to herself, had confidence in her beliefs, grown a beautiful testimony of the Savior and had a lot of fun.  We just couldn't be prouder of her and her accomplishments.  I must say, however, I am glad to see this week come to an end.
Friday was Halea's actual graduation.  Friday morning I got up early to run some errands in Salt Lake.  When I got home, we made lunch and then we all got ready to go to the graduation.  Halea was speaking, but didn't seem nervous at all.  She is a cool cucumber.  We loaded up the grandparents and all of us and headed down.  Our niece and her husband followed us down.  We had to be at the graduation an hour early, so I knew that it was maybe going to be a struggle for Hilary.  I loaded my purse with treats and candy and just hoped that she wouldn't throw up on the way home.
It was a pretty long hour waiting for the program to start, but we made it through.  There was one speaker, then Halea was up.  She did fantastic.  At the end of her talk she read a story of a man who had wanted to change the world when he was a young man.  Then he was discouraged because he realized that he couldn't change the world.  So he decided maybe to try and change just his country, then just his family.  He realized that none of that was possible.  Then in his twilight years he realized that if he had just focused on changing himself, he probably could have influenced his family, then his country and who knows, the world.  It was a great way to wrap things up for her talk.  She didn't even seem nervous.

Then they began with the reading of the 600 names!!!!! Seriously, it was forever.  it was fun to watch them all, but it was really long.  At the end they played a cute video of the senior class activities from the year.  My niece and nephew left a little early and took some of the kids so they could get a jump on the traffic.  The kids jumped at the chance to leave:)
We had a dinner at home and just hung out until Halea left for her grad night party at 11.
Can you believe when I went to Costco on Friday that I found this cake, that was for Halea's school, just sitting there waiting for me to buy it!!  It said Lehi on it, how could I pass it up?  I really hope that I didn't accidentally buy someones special order graduation cake.  Oops.
 I signed up to be a chaperon and clean up crew for the grad night, so I decided to go to bed for a few hours before I needed to report for duty.  I got up a little before 3am and headed in.  They had a lot of fun things set up for the kids to do and lots of yummy food.  Halea and her friends seemed like they had a great time.  I think Halea even got a little emotional thinking about leaving Lehi High School for the last time.  I am so grateful that she has fond memories of High school.  One of the other speakers at the graduation spoke about having no regrets when you look back on your life.  Do now what you wish you would have done, no regrets.  It was a good talk.  I appreciated her advice.  It is a great way to make decisions in life.
I got home around 5am and decided to sleep for an hour or so before I went running because then it was off to the races with our jam packed day.   When I got home from my run, there was a beautiful potted flower with pinwheels stuck in it on my porch!  At like 7:30am.   How did she sneak that so early? The day was off to a good start.
Months ago when I was thinking about this day and how I would like to spend it, it involved staying in bed, doing nothing if I wanted to.  Maybe reading a book, cuddling with Hilary, crying a lot and probably a little feeling sorry for myself.  Then one day I was walking out of the temple and I realized that we for sure needed to squeeze in a temple visit on this day.  Our home felt like the temple, so it only seemed appropriate.   Then we realized that one of our very good friends had her oldest daughter getting married on this day.  Ugh.  I was a little resistant to that idea at first.  This particular friend has also had two of her children die, so I felt like it would be important for us to attend the beautiful event of two young people uniting in marriage.  
Then one of my friends called about four weeks ago to see when we were going to try and go to the temple, because she really wanted to come, but they had to change her son's baptism to this very day.  Seriously, it was becoming comical how many things were suddenly in our days agenda.
She has been such a good friend and we really had no preference for when we went to the temple, so we worked out a time that worked for all of us and began the day.
Lance and I headed off to the Salt Lake Temple to start the day.  I was getting a little nervous to see if I was going to be able to hold my emotions together.  I did really good until the very end of the ceremony.  I let my mind go to the place where I think about the fact that I will never see Tatum or Trevin married in this life.  It feels weird to think of the dynamics that that changes in your family make up and future.  The spirit was sweet in the room and I just got a little emotional right as we were leaving the ceremony.  I just kept having waves of emotion as we were walking down the hall. Now my main concern as I was attending these few very special events was to not be the "dark cloud" in attendance.  I did not want to detract from the joy that these families should be feeling with a wedding and a baptism.  So I was trying really hard to hold it together.

A side note: A few days ago Lance got a call to meet with our Stake President.  Lance is currently serving as a High Councilman, so he was just having an interview to see how things were going.   I adore our stake president.  He is the sweetest, kindest man.  I love to hear him speak, his advice is always filled with such sincerity and love for all of us.  He is just an amazing man.  Apparently while they were talking it came up that this day was coming.  Lance told him that we would be going to the temple that day.

As we were walking down the steps I was wiping my eyes looking down at the stairs so I didn't fall.  When we got to the bottom, there was our stake president.  He works in the Salt Lake Temple, so not unusual for him to be there, but right there at that very moment was very odd.  Lance shook his hand, then I smiled and shook his hand.  He smiled and said, "keep smiling" in his most sincere kind self.  I didn't know that he knew it was Tatum's death date, so I thought that was funny for him to say that.  After Lance told me about his interview earlier, I knew that was a tender gift from our Heavenly Father.  How sweet to run into someone that I so admire.
When we got home I visited for a little bit, then I went to the baptism of my friends little boy.  I have known her and her family for a lot of years.  Again, there were the tender feelings of never getting to see these ordinances for Trevin and Tatum, but overall I had such good feelings.  I love the songs that are played at baptisms, they are so beautiful.  Then the talks that were given were so sweet.  My friends little girl who is 10 gave the sweetest, most sincere, poised talk I have ever seen from a person her age.  Her oldest daughter played an amazing piece on the piano and then their grandpa gave a really sweet talk.  He referenced a story from President Eyring's book that was really cool.  He talked about how we need to always be preparing ourselves, not only for ourselves but so we can always be available to help others.  He said that you should be obedient and constantly be doing the small things you are asked to do, like help put up chairs or do your home teaching or help clean the church.  These are the small things that, if done with a cheerful heart, they are practice for the hard things that come along, like trials of your own or helping others through trials.  He said it much better, but that was the idea.   I knew that I was supposed to be doing these things.  I was supposed to be at the wedding and this baptism.  I was spiritually fed at both.  The ordinances that I was getting to witness today were very sacred and special.  Where else would my kids want me?  Orchestrated, I think so!
While I was gone, Halea took Heidi and Holden to Bridal Veil Falls for a hike.  She wanted to be in nature to remember sweet Tatum.  I was so grateful that she took time to be with her brother and sister.  She is a great example to me, and so tender when it comes to our sweet Tatum.
As I was driving home from the baptism, I was thinking about the day up to this point.  I was pondering what our stake president had said to us in the Temple, "keep smiling".  It made me smile, and then I was thinking back on this year.  I have really tried to smile through all of this.  I have really felt like humor helps me through hard things.  I hope that this is how people have seen us as a family.  We all have felt such deep love from our Heavenly Father through all of this, and we feel like this is how we show him that we understand.  We know that we are eternal beings.  We know that we will see Tatum and Trevin again.  This knowledge does not take away the sting of death and separation, but that knowledge allows us to carry on.  Not just carry on, but have joy in our lives right here and now.  I truly do feel that.  Halea posted a picture yesterday with this quote from Sister Hinckley, "The trick is to ENJOY life.  Don't wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead."  I loved this.  It is not an easy thing to do during the hard times, but I have felt buoyed by my faith that one day, all will be whole again.  My hope is that my Heavenly Father has felt that love from me, and that we have been good examples of this.
I love motto's.  While I was driving thinking about all of this I thought it would be cool to have a motto, learned from this past year.  Smiling came to mind.  "Smile through the trial".  Nailed it.  It was better than "laugh through the crap", right?  (That doesn't even really rhyme)  Sometimes it helps to do what we wish we felt.  I am a big believer that you become what you do.  If you are frowning and complaining and sad all of the time, this is what you will become.  Smile through the trial.
I went home and we visited with the grandparents for a bit before Lance and I left for the temple.  We picked up two of our friends that were coming.  When we got to the chapel inside the temple three of our other friends had come.  My good friend that I work with and her husband and one of our Angel Watch patients that has become such a sweet friend.  It was so sweet of them to take time out of their busy Saturday to come and support us.  It was awesome to be in the temple with people that we love.  I was so grateful that we had all made that a part of our day.  Again, I know that was another place that we were supposed to be.
While we were gone, the grandparents took Hilary to Walmart to buy her a new bike.  A few days ago, Halea had accidentally run over Hilary's little bike that she loves.  It is the same little bike that Halea used to learn to walk when she was just a year old!  I think I was sadder than Hilary.  So when we got home, this is what we found!  A very thrilled Hilary.  I have a feeling that I am going to be spending a lot of time outside watching her ride her bike.  Thanks grandmas and grandpa.
On our way home Lance and I stopped at the wedding reception for our friend that got married earlier in the day.  It was so lovely.  People have such vision when they are putting these events together.  I am not very talented when it comes to this.  It was impressive.
We all loaded up and went to the cemetery to clean off all of the pin wheels and plants because the cemetery will clean off all of the graves on Tuesday and there were things that we wanted to keep and put back out.  One of our friends had dropped off some bubbles so we brought those with us.  One of my favorite memories with little Tater bug was of us sitting out on the porch and the girls blowing bubbles for her.  I think this might have to be a new tradition.  It was really fun.
 When we got to the cemetery we saw that others had dropped off things.  I am overwhelmed at how many people remember.  I am the absolute worst at remembering dates and anniversaries, outside of my own.  OK sometimes even my own.  It makes me see how Tatum really did affect people.

Hilary was not about to take her helmet off to go to the cemetery.   Love this girl.  We weren't sure how to even explain to Hilary what this day signified, so we just let her be and do the normal things that she usually does.

After the cemetery we grabbed some pizzas and went back to the house.  It was truly a way better day than I would have ever planned.  I am grateful for all those that remembered with us, either silently or through deed.  
Two of my friends that came to the temple with us brought this to us.
This is a line from the hymn that Halea played at Tatum's funeral.  I can't believe how thoughtful people are.  I would not have survived this year without all of the good people around me, truly being the Lords hands.  This really was the Best, Worst Day.