"I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life;
to put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived." ~Henry David Thoreau

Friday, July 31, 2009

Back In The Swing Of Things

It feels good to get back to a routine. The last week has been hard being here and away from family, but it's good to be back in real life. I thrive on routine and so do my kids. Having them in bed at the right time each night seems to help everyone's spirits.

I spent the morning working on the Primary Program, making and revising family calendars, registering kids for the next session of swim lessons, organizing the hall linen closet (which only holds one shelf of linens...the other shelves hold "stuff"). When Lauren wakes up we'll head to the Rec Center for swimming. My nice Texas tan is starting to melt and I need some more sun!

Tomorrow is our seven year anniversary and it'll be a busy day. I've got Sharing Time and a meeting to prepare for while Cody likely goes into work to play catch up in the morning. Then tomorrow night we're taking the kids to the new Temple open house. We're excited about that.

It's been a little over four weeks since we lost Joseph. I miss him like crazy but life does go on. He'd want us to get on with life. And in a way, it feels good to do so.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Third Trimester

On Sunday Audrey gave me a hug at church and said "Yea for reaching the third trimester!" She is expecting and due a few days before me and she's also experienced pregnancy loss, so she gets it.

I can't believe I have hit this point! But in all honesty, I feel like I've been in the third trimester since week 21. I've been so big, swollen, and sore that I seem to have skipped most of those middle weeks. Yesterday I had my glucose screening appointment and no matter what, I can never get used to that nasty drink! My BP was actually on the higher side (for me) being at 106/70. I'm not complaining.

I've started to get leg cramps all day and a lot during the night, and it always feels like spiders are crawling all over them. So tingly! The baby is moving con-stant-ly. I've tried to figure out his sleep and wake schedule, but he doesn't seem to have one. He's awake almost all the time. But I don't mind because I love feeling him do flips and dance around in there! Yesterday his heart BPM was 140...still on the low side but perfect for a big boy.

The doc and I talked about his birthday and since I'm due October 18th, he said he's comfortable delivering him any time between the 12th and the 16th. I really want to make it as close to my due date as I can, so through the whole month of October I'll be lying down most of the day with my legs tightly squeezed together.

The hospital has been under major construction since I was pregnant with Hailey. But I am very thrilled to say that it's all but complete. It looks like a brand new hopital! They built a gorgeous new maternity wing and I sneaked in for a peek yesterday while I was waiting for my glucose blood draw. Let me just say...wow. Holy wow. I am so excited to get to stay there for a few days! It is incredible. No more drippy radiator in my room or even better...no more shared rooms! I spent the first night after Lauren was born with a roomie and I never want to do that again. The bathrooms in the each room look like they came from the Hilton. There are also really nice flat screen plasma TVs in each room. They might have a hard time kicking me out after that fifth day!

I just can't believe how quickly this pregnancy has gone. Yesterday Mike wanted me to schedule all of my remaining appointments from here until the due date. I start going every two weeks from now on, and then weekly after 36. I've got it all scheduled out and now it is seeming VERY real.

I'm so excited to have this little boy. I keep imagining what he'll look like, if he'll have a full head of dark hair like his siblings, just how big he'll be, which child will love him the most (they fight about that constantly). One day this week I'm going to pull Ethan's baby clothes out and start sorting through them. We're having another baby boy!!! Cody and I couldn't be more giddy.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My Voice Left Me

Today was our first day back in our ward after a four week hiatus. The month of July was terribly hard, but it is almost behind us. Being back among good friends was a strength today. I love my Primary presidency and I feel grateful to have such steadfast sisters by my side. I went to a meeting this morning and although my heart was not in it, it felt soothing to be in their presence.

I had a counsel with the bishop at the end of church and I left his office feeling uplifted. I have been worried that the mantel of my calling has left me, but he's certain it hasn't. That makes me feel hopeful.

As we sang the Sacrament hymn, I truly listened to the words. Never before has the Atonement meant so much to me. Never before have I had to rely on it so much. Never before have I had to trust the Savior like this. As I sang the words with the congregation, I had to stop to gain composure as my voice left me-

In humility, our Savior,
Grant thy Spirit here, we pray,
As we bless the bread and water
In thy name this holy day.
Let me not forget, O Savior,
Thou didst bleed and die for me
When thy heart was stilled and broken
On the cross at Calvary.

Fill our hearts with sweet forgiving;
Teach us tolerance and love.
Let our prayers find access to thee
In thy holy courts above.
Then, when we have proven worthy
Of thy sacrifice divine,
Lord, let us regain thy presence;
Let thy glory round us shine.

It hit me for the first time just how wonderous the Atonement is. I will never be able to repay what Christ did for me...and for my whole family. It's because of Him that we will live again with the brother we love so much. He did that for us. I wish I could put my grattitude into words. As they passed the bread and water I thumbed through the hymnal and this song hit me like a ton of bricks too. I've heard it and played it a million times, but again...now it has meaning to me.

There is a green hill far away,
Without a city wall,
Where the dear Lord was crucified,
Who died to save us all.

We may not know, we cannot tell,
What pains he had to bear,
But we believe it was for us
He hung and suffered there.

There was no other good enough
To pay the price of sin.
He only could unlock the gate
Of heav’n and let us in.

Oh, dearly, dearly has he loved!
And we must love him too,
And trust in his redeeming blood,
And try his works to do.

My heart is full.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

What I Would Say

I miss you Bofie. I dreamed about you three times last night. I woke up in between each dream and was devastated when I realized they were only dreams. In the first dream we were little kids again. It was very foggy and I don't remember much, but I remember you telling me that you had to leave for a while. I was sad and I didn't understand why.

There is so much I want to say to you right now and I sometimes catch myself talking to you through out the day. But I don't know if you can hear me. I wish you could, but at the same time I don't want you to see me like this. It would only bring you down. Why is it that the harder I try to get on with life, the harder the memory of you keeps pulling me back? I know you wouldn't want us to suffer like this. But we are.

I hope you don't mind but I stole your spare glasses from your book case. And I also have that box of 96 crayons that you had, the ones Matthew gave you as a gag gift for your last birthday. They are the ones with the built in sharpener on the box. My kids will NEVER use them. But I want them because they remind me of you. I put your glasses on the other day and I had forgotten how blind your were in that one eye. I hope you have perfect vision again.

I wish so many things for you. I wish that you could know this new nephew of yours. I wish he would know you too. Who knows, maybe the two of you are living it up right now...together. Maybe you know him better than I do at the moment. Be good to him. Teach him things that he needs to know. Tell him how much I already love him.

I love you so much and I wish I had told you that more often. The very first memory I have in this whole life is of the day you were born. We went to see Mom and you in the hospital and remember how I looked for you in the toilet? The crazy things that go through a two year old's mind. Since that is my first memory, I guess you could say my life began the day you came into it.

I miss you. I wish we could talk like we did when we were younger. I wish you knew the impact you had in this world...for the better. Your funeral was standing room only and I'm amazed (but not surprised) at the number of lives you touched. You touched my life, kiddo. I love you, Hazoor. I think about you every day and hope you are happy where you are now. If you see Schatze, give her a huge hug for me and tell her I'm sorry for not feeding her the night before she died. I hope she's forgiven me for that by now. And do the "voice" when you see Cubbie. I miss both of those girls too.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Moving Forward

Dad happened to call me at the perfect time this afternoon. I got off the phone with him a little while ago and for now, my spirits have been lifted. But give me an hour and I'll likely be a puddle of tears again.

Being back home has been harder than I realized it would be. I long to be back with my brothers and sisters again. Being in their company was helpful. They are the only people on the face of the planet who knew him as intimately as me. We all knew and loved him like that. Does that love die when a person does? Is it disrespectful to move forward in life and leave their memory behind? Right now I don't think so. Joseph would want us to continue being happy and to make more memories. Even though we have about a million, he'd want us to develop more inside jokes among each other.

I know he's here with us in some way. His presence is still felt everywhere we go. I like to think that he's on the other side laughing at our silly antics and cheering us on in our own lives. He wouldn't want our lives to stand still.

But when I start to dive back into life as if nothing happened, I am consumed with feelings of guilt. Guilt for moving on and the fear of forgetting him. It's like right now I want to take the eleventy-billion memories I have and keep them in a security deposit box. And I feel that by getting on with life, it somehow might begin to erase those memories.

Someone said to me yesterday that as hard and deeply as we love someone, we grieve just as deeply when they are gone. It is so true. Joseph was loved and adored by all who knew him. He touched people in ways that many people can't, including his own family. In time I will write about his funeral and it's astounding at what took place there. It was a testament of the kind of man he was. I love him and miss him like crazy. But he'd want me to keep living life, writing about the good times and telling silly stories about my children. I want to do that...for him.

First Thing

We're back from Texas. Got back late last night. I'm exhausted, emotionally, physically, spiritually...

It's been three weeks. I can't believe it's already been three weeks because it's as a raw as it was then. I'm tired of doing belly flops over and over again- it's that feeling of suddenly realizing he's gone and I get hit in the face and the wind gets knocked out of me. He continues to be the last thing I think about when I fall asleep at night, the thing I dream about, and the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I've needed to journal for some time. But every time I sit down to write...emotion creeps up and I fall apart. It's been exactly two weeks tomorrow that he left us. This has been the most unconventional trip to Texas we've ever taken, and I hope to never another one like it. As I walked through Wal Mart last night to pick something up, I was over come with a feeling of deja-vu and I was taken back to last summer. I wondered with sadness if things would ever be like they were back then. Cody told me they wouldn't. Something would always be different, be changed. We will all be forever changed. There will be an empty place in each of us where the light of Joseph's presence once dwelled. I long to fill it with something else, something that he would like. But right now I don't know what.

I have a lot of catching up to do in this journal, but it will have to wait for now. I'm not ready for that yet. I'm not ready to look at the 100 pictures from the funeral or re-live this past week. Being here with my family has been so healing, but so hard at the same time. Around every corner is Joseph. In every conversation he's brought up. We constantly wonder and ask "What would Hazoor think of this?" Sometimes it's asked with smile. Other times through tears. I know we will be okay. Things are better than they were even yesterday, and I pray that each day gets a little easier. But oh how I miss him. I long to sit down with him face to face and tell him how much I love him. What I would give for five more minutes with my little brother. I know we have eternity to talk about things like that, but I wish it was now.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Take Away Their Pain

The hardest part of this has been watching my family suffer. Last night I had a complete breakdown as I thought of how this is affecting my little brother, Philip. He lost his best friend and his confidante. He is so angry at the world, at God, at the rest of the family...and I can't say I blame him. And as a result, I'm angry too. I know that the Lord only gives us what we can handle. I know that for me, I will get through this and I'll somehow be a stronger person because of it. I hate that I have to experience such pain, but I will be okay.

Philip on the other hand...I don't know. And part of me is angry with the Lord for giving this trial to him. He's not strong like me, or like the rest of us. I don't know why the Lord saw fit to take away his buddy, his big brother, the guy he adored and looked up to. It isn't fair. As I sit and listen to Philip cry, all I can think of is how badly I want to take away his pain. I don't want him to hurt. I wish I could hurt for him, suffer for him. I know that I can take it if the Lord would let me. I wish I could. I can't see him like this.

And in a way I'm very angry that life continues to go on around us. We are living in this little world of misery right now. Yet the 4th of July came and went and life goes on. As I read my friends' blogs and see the happy pictures of their festivities, part of me is filled with rage. How dare they be happy! How dare THEIR families not be devastated like ours? Why us? Why now?

I wish I could pick an emotion and stick with it. Cody gave me a beautiful blessing the other night. I go through spells of feeling very peaceful and strong, and then a minute passes and I fall apart again. Does it mean I don't have faith? Am I not as strong as I thought I was? Do I really not have a testimony of the Resurrection? I begin to feel guilty that I feel so distraught. If I really believed in the Plan of Happiness then I shouldn't feel like this, right?

And then I'm reminded of what it was like for President Hinckley when he lost his beloved wife. A prophet of God and perhaps the person on the face of the earth with the widest eternal perspective...even he had a terrible time when she died. He said at times it was almost unbearable. That gives me hope. I know this life is supposed to be very hard. The trials we encounter are supposed to push us and test us to the brink of our abilities. We are not supposed to skate through life on easy street.

But I wish so badly that it wasn't this hard for the people I love most.

The classic "Mick" face. Geyaahh.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

In Retrospect the Lord Is Great

Something dawned on me last night in the midst of a grieving episode. As I prayed for comfort again, a thought entered my mind and I was reminded of events that took place a few months back.

The last time our whole family was together was Thanksgiving 2008. In a large family it's always hard to coordinate schedules so we can be together. Cody and I weren't going to be traveling to Texas that holiday because he was swamped at work and we flat out couldn't afford it. We'd already made plans to be with his family in Idaho for Thanksgiving instead.

Then something terrible happened on November 10th. I lost our sweet baby that I was carrying. Up to that point in my life it was one of the hardest things I'd dealt with. After thinking it over and talking to his boss, Cody decided that me being with my family at that time was far more important than any job. So we made the plans and we were able to go to Texas despite our current circumstances.

Last Thanksgiving is filled with some of the best memories of my life. We spent the day at our cousin's house and we did nothing but laugh, visit, and act silly together. I have some priceless pictures to prove it. The week was filled with activities that I will never forget and the memories created in that short time will always be in the most scared places of my heart.

I had no idea that we wouldn't have another reunion like that for years and years to come. It was the last one in this mortal life. As I sat there in the dark last night and recollected that precious time, I was filled with gratitude to the lord for choreographing such events to make it possible for us to create just a few more memories as a family...before one of our own was temporarily taken. Going through that miscarriage was horrible, but seeing it now from a wider perspective, I am in awe at a loving and smart Father in Heaven who knew what would happen and knew that losing that baby was the only way to get us to Texas at that time. His planning was meticulous and I'm seeing that He really does know every detail from beginning to end. (I should also mention that Joseph was burried on July 10, 2009. That was my exact due date with the baby we lost. Had that baby lived, I would not have been able to travel across the country for the funeral.)

If He was able to calculate those events in such a way, I know with all my heart that He has a plan for our family to do it all again. The sadness and despair I feel will let up with time, and someday I'll look back and see His hand in this tragedy as well. I know the Lord knows our family. And in the garden, He did in fact see this precise moment in time when we would need His compassion and love. What a blessing it is to have the knowledge of the Gospel and an understanding of the Plan of Salvation. Even though it doesn't seem like it now, we will be okay.

As I talked with Philip again last night, we both decided that our family motto needs to be "No empty seats" in reference to that last Thanksgiving together. One day when we are all together again, we want to have another reunion around Heaven's table and every single one of us needs to be there. If a single seat is empty, it won't be Heaven. We can't let that happen...and we won't.

I love you Hazor and I know you are pulling for us right now. We'll see you again.

Friday, July 3, 2009

And Jesus Wept

This evening after a very heart wrenching conversation with my little brother, Philip, my heart was heavy. I opened my email inbox to find the most inspired letter from Leighann, our missionary. I can't imagine what this must be like for her, but in a way I envy her because of the spiritual plane she is on right now. I needed her perspective. Here is a bit from her letter-

In John 11:1-46, Christ receives word that Lazarus (the brother of Martha and Mary - Christ's dear friends) is very sick. Two days later, before He's had a chance to get there, He discovers that Lazarus has died. He quickly goes to Bethany because He has the work of God to do. As He enters the city, He's met by Martha who tells Him, "If thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." Christ, because He knows what she needs at that moment, explains to her Plan of Salvation and lets her know of his plans to resurrect Lazarus right then and there. Martha is comforted in knowing this.

Jesus travels in farther and is next met by a very tear-drenched Mary. She echoes Martha's words and tells Him, "If thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." He looks at her tear-stained face, then looks at all the others crying. And then, in one of the most beautiful statements in the Bible, we learn that "Jesus wept" with them.

My dear sister, do you know what this means for you? I am Martha. When I learned of Joseph's death last night, I was heart broken, but I received immediate comfort because of my knowledge and testimony of the Plan of Salvation. Christ knew that was what I needed right then and there to be ok. You are Mary. Christ knows of what's in store for our brother. He knows that because of our parents' faithfulness, our family will be eternal. But rather than shouting these things at you, right now Jesus Christ, the Savior and redeemer of the world, is weeping with you.

Do you know this? He's been there. On that lone and dreary night in the Garden of Gethsemane, He thought of you. He felt of this precise moment. He knows what you need better than you do. And He's weeping with you. Please rely on Him. He so desperately desires that.

In this moment I am comforted. I am so thankful to Christ and for His atoning sacrifice so that He could understand my pain. And I'm so thankful for an inspired sister who knew I needed to be reminded of this.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

How Do You Deal?

I wish someone would tell me the rules. I'm so new at this and I don't know what the protocol is. It's been almost 48 hours since he passed. About 42 hours since we got the news. It's been a nightmarish couple of days and I don't know how to do this. I don't know how to make sense of what I'm feeling. One second I'm not crying. I'm feeling pragmatic and I'm thinking about the funeral and trying to help my family by taking the lead and getting things done.

And then it's amazing how the next minute some random memory fills my mind and I'm overcome with grief, so consuming that I can't breathe. It feels like trying to swim against the tide on the ocean. You barely catch your breath and then another tremendous wave crashes down on you and you plummet upside down toward the ocean floor. I can't seem to escape that spiral toward the ocean floor.

I want to scream and cry out loud. But I feel like I have to stay composed. Perhaps if I don't, I won't be able to stop crying and I'll collapse. Today as I was talking about pallbearers with Dad, with out skipping a beat I listed Joseph as one of them. It seemed so natural to say. And then I caught myself saying it and my heart felt like it'd been ripped from my chest all over again. I don't know when this will let up. What if it never does.

Mom and I talked for a couple of hours today. I've never heard/seen her like this before. I hope to never see her like this again. It's one kind of grief to lose a brother who you adore, but it's another kind of grief to lose your baby boy who you adore. I don't know which is worse. They are both terrible in their own way.

I have a strong testimony of the resurrection. I know one day we'll have a joyful reunion with Joseph. But I don't care. All I can think if is how badly I want to see him right now. I don't want to wait years and years before I get to tell him all of the things I never got a chance to. I just want to hear his silly laugh once again...but even then it wouldn't be enough. It would leave me never wanting to say good-bye. I know this is temporary. The logical part of my brain knows it is. But I'm so devastated that I can't see past my selfish grief. This is sadness like I never could have imagined.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Joseph Died

...Actually saying those terrible words out loud is unreal. No, it's surreal. You aren't supposed to bury your baby brother. Putting a life in terms of past tense is wrong. He was not even 27, far too young to die. There was a terrible car accident in the wee hours of the morning today when his friend (the driver) fell asleep at the wheel. They were driving back from D.C. and Joseph had taken his seat belt off to get more comfortable. He was sound asleep and died on impact. The coroner is sure of it.

You never want to receive a phone call from your parents early in the morning. It can never be good. When the phone rang I knew something was wrong. My dad gave Cody the news. He came in and just held me, trying to figure out the words to say to soften the blow.

He was two years younger than me. My kid brother. Almost every picture I have of him, oddly enough, I'm in the picture with him. It's amazing the random memories that fill my mind and flood my eyes every time I shut them. Is it possible to become dehydrated from crying? I think I'm to that point. I don't know what to do with the last 12 hours. It's not supposed to happen like this.

All I can think about is the last time I talked to him. It's been months and I can't stop the guilt of that thought. But we've all been busy and life only seems to speed up. I keep thinking that I wish I'd hugged him tighter the last time I saw him. I wish I'd told him what he means to me, what the last 27 years of our lives have meant to me. I wish I had called him yesterday evening. I wish. I wish I could wake up from this nightmare.