Thursday, February 27, 2014

These Things Come in Threes

Looks like we'll have another funeral in the coming days.
Jay's dear grandma Faye passed away last night.
We knew it was coming, just not quite this soon.
She lived a good, long life.
I can imagine with joy the reunion she is having right now with her husband and daughters.
The last few years it was extremely difficult to watch as Alzheimer's disease set in.
She always thought her husband was just outside and that Jay's mom could not come visit becuase she had to stay in Ogden.
We stopped telling her over and over again that they had passed away years before.
Grandma lived in Idaho Falls, the last time we visited was in January.
She kept on asking where grandpa was, at one point she said, " Grandpa was just here, he's right behind me now, isn't he?"
While we couldn't see him, I wonder if he wasn't often there taking care of her.
She knew, she could feel his love.
I am thrilled they are together, what a sweet moment I wish I could witness.
This will make 3 funerals in 3 months in 3 different states, it feels like too much.
I feel this immense load of grief has just been dumped on our family.
I didn't feel like I had a chance to fully grieve Brad before the tragedy with Josh.
Josh took center stage and all the things I wanted to do for and with Brad's family got pushed to the back burner.
When the week of Josh's funeral was over it was hard to get back into life.
It's hard to explain, I didn't feel like myself.
I needed to do things, but really had to force myself just to get the bare essentials accomplished in the day.
That is not me.
Then I went to Lisa's house last week and walked into her bathroom, through her bedroom, to talk with her as she was finishing her makeup.
Brad was in the bed the last time I had seen him.
Those images filled my mind even though Lisa's bed was neatly made.
There were pictures of the two of them all around the room.
It was too much, I had to fight back the tears.
And the tears for Brad haven't stopped since.
They fall right along side the ones for Josh and now grandma Faye.
They just won't stop falling.
It's hard mourning for so many people at once.
From one minute to the next my mind goes around all their sweet memories.
And I'm mad that all we have left are memories and photographs.
Like really, really mad.
I wasn't ready for any of these loved ones to go, yet they did.
We had so much we still wanted to do with them.
Looks like it wasn't up to me, because if it were this is not what I would have chosen.
But I guess it's time to "cowboy up" yet again  and rejoice in another life well lived and trust in a God that knows more than I do.
He knew it was their time, even if I didn't agree.
So I will be content to trust in His wisdom and try not to cry so much and rejoice in a wonderful plan laid out by our Maker.
  "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
  A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
  A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
  A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
  A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
  A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. " 
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

I have had so much joy in my life, with these family members specifically.
The Lord says that time is over and now it's time to weep and mourn.
I look forward with faith the times of healing and laughter and dancing that are still ahead for me and my beautiful life, because it really is beautiful.
Part of me thinks I need just one more baby to counter all this death and dieing. 
What do you think? Sounds like a good idea to me!

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Airplane Miracle

The days following Josh's passing were nothing short of hellish.
The physical feelings were like nothing I'd ever experienced.
It ranged from sick to my stomach to boughts of uncontrollable sobbing.
Yet, there were plans to be made.
Josh lived here in Utah, just 2 or 3 miles up the road from our family, with his mom for most of his life.
About a year before he died, he went to Texas to live with his father in the same town I lived in until I was in 1st grade when my family moved to California.
That is where he was when he died.
His father began right away with funeral arrangements, so that meant there were lots and lots of family that needed to get to Texas, and fast.
The viewing was held just 3 days after he was found, then the funeral was the following morning. 
It all seems like a whirlwind.
Right away we got online looking for airline tickets, searching for the best deal.
The cheapest price we could find round trip was about $450.
That day was filled with millions of phone calls back and forth and coordinating, finding out who could go, who had to stay for school or work and figuring out the best way to get everyone there that need to get there.
I checked with pilot friends for buddy passes for my sister, but their airlines did not fly into Dallas/Fort Worth.
We tried a hundred different ways to find flights, to no avail.
In fact, that evening, my sister Elizabeth and her husband, Kerry's home teacher had stopped by their home out of the blue.
Elizabeth and Kerry told him of their nephew's passing and that we were trying to get flights for lots of family.
As that sweet home teacher left he offered a prayer and in it he specifically prayed that we would all be able to find affordable flights and that we would be looked after.
Little did we know that our connection to heaven would be better than any other connection we could find with all the people we knew.
Flights did not get booked that day, so the following morning  we got back online to book the flights.
Prices had skyrocketed overnight to about $750.
Regardless of the price we had to get them, there was no way any of us would have missed going for Joshy.
I was put in charge of getting tickets for myself and my other 3 sisters, all of our husbands had to stay with our kids and for work. There's no way we could have brought everyone that wanted to go.
Christine's family were getting their own and there were other family members who booked their own flights separately.
Christine's family had, by far, the most people to buy for. 
As I was online looking, Kerry called, he was looking for a deal, too.
Here we are talking and searching for any other deal we could find.
All the airlines were within a few dollars of each other, so we resigned to go ahead and buy the $750 tickets.
To ensure we were on the same flight, I would pay with my credit card and let everyone pay me back.
Just as I had put in the dates and how many tickets we wanted to purchase, Kerry shouts, "WAIT!"
He had found a deal on one of those flight booking websites, I believe it was
The tickets were $325 each! Less than half of anywhere else.
The catch was that we couldn't pick our flights or even which airline, instead they gave us a window of time that our flights would be departing on the specified day as well as a window of time for our return flight.
And the window was not even bad, it was like between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm.
It wasn't even the red eye.
Plus, they both ended up being direct flights, NO LAYOVERS!
We quickly snatched up our tickets and were beyond thrilled with our deal. 
We were flying Delta and both of our flights left at totally doable times.
While I was waiting for the confirmation for our tickets Kerry grabbed another phone to call Jerry, Christine's husband.
Kerry got Jerry to the site where we had found our deal.
When Kerry called Jerry, he was on the computer at that very moment in the process of purchasing the $750 airline tickets for all the people he was trying to get to Texas.
He had already entered his credit card information and had hit 'submit'.
He was waiting for a confirmation number.
He quickly hit the power button on the computer, crashing it, hoping to cancel out that order before it charged his card.
It worked!
He then was able to purchase enough $325 tickets for everyone who needed to get to Texas, paying less than half, saving him literally thousands of dollars.
Wow, talk about an adrenaline rush. 
About an hour later Kerry decided that since the tickets were not as much as he had thought, that he might come along as well.
He got back on the site and entered the same search.
All the tickets were gone, the prices were back to $750.
Kerry decided to stay home after all, but content in the thought that we had witnessed a miracle.
Those tickets were there just long enough for all of us to get our tickets, it felt as thought the hand of God was directing us, guiding us and holding us in the tender palm of His hands.
Even in the middle of the worst tragedy I had ever felt, I felt the hand of God, His very love and care. 
"I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."
D&C 84:88

What an amazing answer to that beautiful prayer.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Emotional Overload

I love my blog. I love that it is a way for me to record my feelings and my thoughts and my life.
I love writing, getting out the emotions that would otherwise be trapped and perhaps fester inside me. 
It's the cheapest form of therapy.
But sometimes things happen in life that are too difficult to process, let alone write about. 
Hence, my neglected blog. 
I have had several ideas and blog posts that seem to write themselves in my head, yet I feel hesitant to share, to let it out.
This winter has been difficult.
Lots of heartbreaks, too many to handle with the grace I'd like. 
I feel at a loss of words to express myself.
I like to be light and positive and think of my relationship with my Maker and the joy that brings to my life.
But right now, I'm dealing with some pretty heavy stuff.
Right now that relationship with God along with that of my amazing family are the only things getting me through.
About a month ago our family got some devastating news.
I had a restless night, sleep just would not come.
I found myself at 3:30 am as wide awake as a night owl, I had yet to even fall asleep.
I came downstairs to give Jay some peace from my tossing and turning and checked Facebook in the wee hours of the morning.
I noticed some alarming, but vague posts by 2 of my nieces directed to their brother, my nephew Josh, that were just alarming enough to make me worry.
I quickly sent each of them a private message asking what was up.
I stayed online a few minutes longer with no immediate reply from them, then decided to try sleep again.
The next morning after I dropped the kids off at school I hopped back on Facebook to see if there was any news.
This was my niece's reply:
 "Hes gone Sara, he died."
Immediate denial.
My eyes saw the words, yet my brain could not, would not comprehend them.
That was simply not possible.
He was not old, a mere 20, he was not sick. Just the opposite, in fact, he was in the prime of his life.
He had just started college and bought a car the week before.
The words simply did not compute.
I picked up the phone with my shaky hands and with a pit in my stomach, dialed my sister, his mother. 
My other nephew, Bradley answered the phone.
Brad is married and no longer lives there, yet here he was answering his mom's phone at 9 am when he should have been at work.
Clue #2, yet it still did not register.
The words came from my mouth, but I don't recall what they were, the conversation is a blur.
It was confirmed that Josh had indeed passed away sometime the previous night. 
Then there was screaming and crying and panic and shock and horror and gut wrenching physical pain, it was difficult to suck in air, I found myself hyperventilating, struggling to control my body. My arms and legs literally flailed about as I writhed in shock. 
It felt like my very spirit was struggling to be still, it did not want to be contained.
Then came the details involving a call to the suicide hot line, police notifying family of the call, an overnight search for him  and the shocking discovery in the early morning hours, just as daylight was breaking. 
The shock and horror were too much to bare. 
I have lost loved ones before, and not even that long ago, but this was by far the most shocking situation I had ever found myself in. 
My brain simply could not make sense of it.
How could this be real, and yet my head was telling me that it was.
I could go on and on about the next few days and weeks and all that has happened, and I likely will over the next little while simply so that I can process this in my way. 
For now I have a few predominate thoughts.
Suicide is one of those things you never think will touch your life, until it does.
For me it was more of a concept than any sort of reality.
I remember learning about the word in a vocabulary unit in high school. It was lumped with words like herbicide and genocide.
The thought that someone could or would end their own life had never even occurred to me.
But the idea of it seemed so far from anything anyone would ever really do that I really didn't give it much thought.
It feels different than losing someone  in other ways.
Maybe it's just the sheer fact that no one sees it coming.
Or maybe it's all the unanswered questions and guilt, that we perhaps could have done something to prevent this.
Did I mention the questions we will likely never have answers to until we leave this realm ourselves and see our beloved Josh again?
Then there's the stigma about it.
Like it's a taboo word and that there is shame in it.
A few days later I started having nightmares about it, which took me completely by surprise because I usually have quite pleasant dreams.
I don't fully understand why it feels so much more harsh, but it does.
All I know for sure is that I miss my Joshy.
I feel heartbroken that he was suffering enough to do this and I did not know, that none of us knew until it was too late.
I miss his little boy self with the white blond hair and the infectious smile and the one million questions a day.
I seriously have never met another little kid who asked as many questions as he did.
I miss his giant teddy bear hugs and how he loved the children.
I am sad that it had been so long since I had seen him.
I am sad I didn't get a proper goodbye.
Most of all I feel broken and tired and ready to get back to my life and my kids and away from this heartache. 
I know healing will come and that it's a process, I just wish I could fast forward through this part.