Monday, February 28, 2011

Thanks for letting us celebrate your birthday all weekend long! You are a little bit older and a whole lot wiser this year... No one but you and I will ever be able to understand what the last 6 months have really entailed for our little family.

Thank you for truly loving my Mom and showing her that.
Thank you for giving me the priceless time to be with my Mom.
Thank you!

This last 6 months have reminded me just how lucky I am to have you. Our lives are not perfect and never will be but thanks for working hard each day with me to create this wonderful life for our boys.

Beckham especially thanks you for the yummy treat :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Looking for the good

God doesn't give you the people you want; He gives you the people you NEED... to help you, to hurt you, to leave you, to love you and to make you into the person you were meant to be.
Someone sent me this quote in a forward and I loved it. It seems to put everyone we meet in a positive context even if the interaction might not be positive. We studied the beatitudes today in Sunday School and my thoughts took me to think about what kind of person I am to those around me.

Everywhere my thoughts took me seemed to be summed up into this article: Looking for the Good by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf. My favorite quote from the talk was the very last words of it:
We have a choice. We can seek for the bad in others. Or we can make peace and work to extend to others the understanding, fairness, and forgiveness we so desperately desire for ourselves. It is our choice; for whatever we seek, that we will certainly find.
Maybe I'm thinking about all of this so much because Ive thought about the impression my Mom left on this world and the people in it. All I know is that right now I have a deep desire to do good and be good to those around me.

Mean Mothers School

Dear Mom,

Today our lesson in Relief Society was on the talk Courageous Parenting by Larry R. Lawrence from the last General Conference. I can only imagine the Amens and Hallelujahs coming out of your mouth as you listened to that talk :)

I felt like I could hardly contain myself today! I had so much to say, so much I wanted to share. You were a courageous parent!

You were not a perfect parent. I think it would do your memory disservice to try to pretend otherwise but your heart was in the right place. You wanted the best for us and you were not afraid to put off temporary peace and happiness to teach us how to have lasting peace and happiness.

Do you remember how you would tell us you went to "mean Mom school." I swore I would never say that to my kids, but I do. I remember when you told me not only did you go to mean Mom school but you were the Valedictorian, Principal, and founder of it. I believed you!

I loved that he called it Courageous Parenting. It does take courage to do whats right rather than whats easy. Don't worry, I am trying to be a courageous parent like you were. I change a few things here and there and am making my own mistakes, but I hope my kids feel loved the way we did. So far I think I'm doing alright. When I told Davis I went to mean Mom school and the reason why he couldn't do what he wanted to do was because he had a real mean Mom - he looked devastated! His lip quivered and he said, "no you're not Mommy, you're a nice Mommy."

I just wanted to say thanks again for teaching me. I appreciate you so much more each day and your talents and abilities. You were amazing! I am sure that right now you are carrying amazing to new Celestial heights!

I love you,

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What our house is like right now....

I laughed so hard at this. Why? Because I live with 4 boys. There is something really yucky going around and my kids have it. Caleb had it for days, got rid of it, now it seems it might be back. Beckham woke up with a fever and proceeded to lose his breakfast all over my car and then repeated that often tonight. If I so much as dared get off the couch Beckham commanded - SIT! And he would point. If I did not obey right away he would just repeat it over and over until I did. So far Davis has been free and clear. I'm sure he will come down with it just as the other boys get better.

My favorite part of the evening was that I had a meeting tonight and when got back from it John had been sitting as commanded for a couple of hours and when the kids finally got in bed he had a few "symptoms" of illness. I might believe him but he always seems to get "symptoms" of sickness whenever anyone in the house gets them :)
Thus, the Man Cold video resonates with me :)

Today has just been all around a stinky day. John lost an almost $8 million bid by $200,000. I guess that's enough to make anyone sick!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Goooodbye Valentines!

I'm sooooooo over Valentines Day this year!

I'm ready for a little of this!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dear Mom,

Its been 3 weeks since you passed away. Most days I do pretty good. But the last few days have been hard. It seems the numbness is starting to wear off leaving me very raw. It has also been just long enough that I find myself several times a day thinking I need to call you just to say hi.

Ive been reorganizing my house and making it much more functional. Its served not only as a blessed distraction but also as a reminder of everything you taught me. See - I was listening :) While it has been good and therapeutic, it also has been frustrating as I keep finding I have questions for you. Did you make those cute bibs with the letters and animals on them or did Grandma Irene? Which of our ancestors did the little tea set I just found belong to? Were all of your pictures in that one carrier in the garage, or is there another stash somewhere else? I thought we had prepared and I had asked you all of my questions but now I realize I never came close.

Tonight I go to hospice for the first of 8 bereavement counseling sessions. I'm hoping that will help me as I try to find my new normal in life. I never understood how true the saying was - you never know what you have until its gone.

I miss you Mom.
I miss you so much it hurts.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Through an open door

On Monday morning, January 31st, my Mom never really woke up. She communicated a little bit in the morning when she was uncomfortable and told us that by shaking her head yes or no. The rest of the day we got very little to no response. By Tuesday we knew she only had days left. Both the hospice nurse and my Aunt did not feel that she was going to pass Tuesday so the boys readied their bags for when the time was closer and I headed out around 4:00 to pick my boys up and take them to Disneyland. It was the perfect Disneyland day - no lines and nice weather. But for the first time in my life I did not want to be there. On the way over I talked to a friend and told her I didn't feel comfortable leaving my Mom's side anymore and after this trip I wouldn't be leaving again until after she passed. It was so important for me to be there and hold her hand through that experience since I knew she had feared that moment.

We went on the Submarines and my heart felt
heavier. Davis was pleading for Small World and Beckham wanted to go on the Teacups. I promised we could do the Teacups after Small World. About half way through the ride my heart started racing and it became difficult to breathe. The only way I can describe what I felt is to say that I had an overwhelming urge to get off that ride at any costs. I closed my eyes and took deep breaths thinking this must be what people describe as a panic attack. I was thinking of calling my cousin to come get us because I didn't know if I could drive home. By the end of the ride it was not better. I was starting to panic and I KNEW I had to get home right then.

When we
finally got off the ride I threw the boys in the stroller and promised them McDonald's if we could leave without the teacups. They were not happy but I made big promises of ice cream as we RAN to the monorail station. When we got to the top I searched frantically for my phone to call home. There was a missed call 1 minute earlier from my Dad. I called him back and he said, "Auntie says you need to come home right now."

Back at the house right about the time my heart started pounding my Moms blood pressure dropped to around 80 over 48. Her breathing wa
sn't regular and her pulse was over 120 beats a minute. My Aunt grabbed her and told her, "You have to wait for Lisa!" My Dad called our dear friend President Mitchell and he and his sweet wife Lorayne came over. My Dad and President Mitchell gave my Mom a preisthood blessing that she would be able to hang on until her children arrived. My Dad had been inspired to turn her BiPaP machine pressure up and that miraculously seemed to stabilize her breathing more.

I think I made it from the monorail station in Disn
eyland to her side in about 20 minutes flat. Traffic parted, kids cooperated, and I sprinted like a crazy possessed woman but I arrived home around 6:30. I went to my Moms side and thanked her for not only waiting for me but also for warning me.

That will always be one of the most miraculous experiences that I've been through. I know that she warned me that I needed to get ho
me and the minute her heart started racing so did mine. That simple sweet gesture will always serve as a reminder of my Moms love and as a reminder of the connection we had. While we may live in different realms of existence now we are still connected and always will be. I sat with her for a time as her blood pressure and breathing stabilized. Her pulse was still racing but it seemed like she was going to hang on for her sons to arrive.

The best news - she was "comfortable" - in a blissful state beyond pain.

All of a sudden it hit me how much my Mom would want the boys to come say goodbye also. Our sweet Bishop's wife Quenta (who I had fran
tically called on my way home to come care for my boys so I could be totally present when I got home) and Lorayne had fed the boys upstairs and got them ready for bed.

s came down first to say goodnight to Grandma.

He gave her kisses and sang her his favorite song - We are a Happy Family.

I love Grandma, she loves me.
We love Grandpa, yes siree.
They love us and so you see, we are a happy family.

He told her he loved her and said goodnigh

Then it was Beckham turn to say "night night."

He sang her his favorite song - The ABC's

The Hatch family was sweet enough to take the boys to their home for a slumber party and then to school the next day for us.

My blessed Aunt and cousin were there each step of the way and helped hold us all together and understand what was happening. What a blessing it was to have my Aunt, who was a nurse, be the one wa
lking us through the night as things progressed.

Kelly's husband Brian ran errands for us and our
comfort before coming to say goodbye. For their support and patience I will always be grateful.

Mark, Lisa and Kam arrived and were able to spend some time with her alone and Kam was able to wish her goodnight.

Brian was scheduled to arrive around 10:30 a
nd John around 12:30. Around 10:00 her breathing changed and the BiPaP was only inflating her lungs about every 4th breath. Her blood pressure also dropped again to around 80 over 50. We all sat with her as we waited for Brian to arrive, which he did at around 10:25.

We each sat holding her in some way while listened the amazingly peaceful CD created by Kim Reed.
One of the last songs on the CD is the song Going Home and it was playing during that tender time.

Going home, going home
I'm just going home
Quiet light, some still day
I'm just going home

It's not far, just close by
Through an open door
Work all done, care laid by
Going to fear no more

Mother's there expecting me
Father's waiting, too
Lots of folk gathered there
All the friends I knew
I'm going home

Nothing's lost, all's gain
No more fret nor pain
No more stumbling on the way
No more longing for the day
Going to roam no more

Morning star lights the way
Restless dream all done
Shadows gone, break of day
Real life begun

There's no break, there's no end
Just a living on
Wide awake with a smile
Going on and on

Going home, going home
I'm just going home
It's not far, just close by
Through an open door
I am going home

What we experienced and what we felt are too precious to write in such a public setting like this. But there was one moment I did want to share. My Moms eyes had been closed for days but right at the end her eyes suddenly opened wide and her deep brown eyes shone bright and were filled with light giving them an almost amber color. It was at that moment I knew she was seeing the other side of the veil and the light from that world was shining in her eyes. In that moment I believe she crossed from this life to eternal life. It lasted for a few short moments and then her eyes dulled and closed peacefully forever.

Truly she had gone home.

Friday, February 18, 2011

My new fav song

Two of my favorite things combined - a good R&B song and Relief Society! For those of you who don't know what Relief Society is its the women's organization of our church who have the motto that Charity never faileth.

And yes, I did buy it off iTunes :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

In love with this boy

A few gems from my past....

These are papers my Mom had kept and I found in the attic.

More to come!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The value of work

I am home. It was a hard drive feeling like I was leaving this period of my life behind me in California. But then we pulled in and I walked into my warm clean home and my heart felt calm and peace. I cant even begin to express how good it felt to come home to a clean house. My friends and my sisters from Church cleaned it for me and that act of service is one of the best gifts I have ever been given. I had cards waiting for me and Pam even came and stocked my fridge and turned my heat on. What a blessing to be surrounded by such wonderful friends.

I drove Caleb to school today and on the way home as we drove up Sand Hallow Road I looked out at the red rock formations and open land and could not help but breathe in a big sigh of relief. I love California and always will, but this is my home. I love the wide open spaces, friendly strangers, clean air, and small town feel. California resonates with one part of my soul, but Hurricane resonates with my mothering soul.

I know that my Mom will always be a part of my life in my heart and in all of the lessons she taught me. The one lesson I had forgotten until I lived back with her was how much of a priority it is to have my house in order. My house is pretty clean and mostly organized but its hard to keep things tidy with 3 little boys - especially when everything doesn't have a good home. I'm going to make her proud over the next few weeks as I really renovate the inside of our home.

Maybe that's what I love about Hurricane. It satisfies the homesteading need in my soul. John and I took this bare piece of land and started building a home - from scratch. Then we added tiny trees that we can see grow bigger each year. Its like we can see ourselves age and mature in the land around us. We have so many plans for our little piece of land here. It takes work but it also makes us appreciate our little hallowed piece of land. Its the work and patience that make it so meaningful.

My Mom would be proud that I finally appreciate the value of work.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Tomorrow I leave for home.
I am filled with joyous anticipation and dread all at the same time.

I have described this experience many times as living in a snow globe - it has been intensely all encompassing. In leaving I feel like the protection I've lived under the last few months is being shattered. I will be closing this chapter of my life and move into a new one. The spell of these last few months will be broken and I feel like I am leaving my mother behind.

I know that there are other ways to perceive all that leaving means but at this moment I feel scared. I know I have to face the real world again only now I do it without the support and unwavering love of my mother.

I have felt safe here in my snow globe and it is taking all the faith I have to take the next step forward.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Resting Place

On Wednesday morning after the funeral my little family headed over to the cemetery to see my Moms resting place. We got there right after the sun had come up and there was such a feeling of peace and serenity.

It is beautiful there...

This building is near my Moms grave and is where I dressed her body for burial.

It will forever be one of the most sacred places for me. I was able to spend a few moments with her once she was dressed and lovely in her whites and we had her nestled in her casket. It was just the two of us and the feelings I felt there will forever be with me.

We had white roses for the kids to place on her casket and the
pallbearers wore pink carnations.
My boys - 3 white roses and 1 pink carnation.

The perfect spot for a genealogist.

Caleb at Grandma's passing - by John

Caleb and I showed up about an hour and a half following the passing of Caroline. We arrived at 12:30 PM, Caleb having fallen asleep in the car, was asleep when we arrived. In the process of transferring him from the car to the house he slowly woke up and realized where we were. Trying to avoid him see his Grandmas' body I took him straight upstairs where we immediately found Lisa.

I don't know what conversation took place between Lisa and Caleb but it sounds like Caleb convinced Lisa that he wanted to see grandma. After explaining to him that grandma would look a little different than he was used to seeing her, we took him downstairs where the family was still gathered around mom's body. Caleb and I walked to her side where we touched her hand and side and stood by her just looking and pondering. Caleb was standing quietly when someone said you can give everyone hugs. I think whoever said it meant that he could give all of the nearby family members hugs but it was special when Caleb went straight for grandma, making sure she was the first to get a hug showing just how much he loved her and wanted a hug from her.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

All is well!

There is so much I want and need to write and yet there is no time to sit and get the words out. Planning a funeral is a lot of work to coordinate and its nice spending time with loved ones. Before too much time passed I did want to share a few thoughts that might answer how our family is doing right now. Ive been hesitant to express some of it because I don't want anyone to try to correlate how we are doing as a reflection of how much we loved our Mom. Our friend Amelia whose Dad also had ALS shared this with us.
I remember feeling frustrated when people called my dad's passing a loss, it truly was not a loss, if anything it was a great gain of testimony & knowledge of what the purpose of life is & a confirmation that the gospel is true!
That sums up a lot how I feel. Of course I am sad that we have lost my Mom! Of course if I could choose I would bring her back in heartbeat. But I cant choose to bring her back and it has happened and since I cant change it I can choose to be grateful for everything I have learned. I can not even begin to express how much my life has changed in these last 6 months. I am a different person - a better person.

Obviously the day after my Mom died I was having a really bad day. I took a wrong turn hours after writing that last post on accident and ended up passing the Rose Hill Friends Church and their sign read:

Change is inevitable - Growth is intentional.

I smiled to myself - here was my very first message from my Mom :) It seemed so appropriate because that is exactly what my Mom would have said. Buck up girl. Get on with things. Learn what you can from it and make your life better but stop feeling sorry for yourself because you cant change it.

I know that things are going to get hard after the funeral as the shock wears off but I also know that I will always be grateful for having had the chance to realize now just how special my Mom was. I discovered a lot of myself in her during these months and serving her and being with her has left me with an inner satisfaction that can not be found anywhere else. I have no regrets.

We sang Come Come Ye Saints in church today and part of the last verse sums it all up:
And if we die before our journeys through, Happy Day! All is well!

We know my Mom is in a better place and is happy, for her it is a happy Day. I found this picture and laughed because I know this is what it looks like in Heaven right now....

My Mom sitting around cracking jokes and catching up with my
Grandpa Lew and Grandma Irene.

All is well! All is well!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

How I am doing...

People keep asking me how I am doing and if I am okay.

The answer is - no.

I know that I will be okay and most moments of the day I have control over myself. I know she is in a better place. I know everything will work out fine. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

But I don't want it to. I don't want to find a new normal where I get use to not having a Mom. I watch that slide show over and over again and don't want to live in a life where I don't see that smile and that passion and love. I don't want to be the one going through and organizing everything back into its place today here in her home. This is her house and her things and I want her to do it!

I want to call her and hear her voice. I want to hear the front door open and know its her by the way it shuts - hard and fast like she has been places and has more to go! I want her to reprimand me and tell me I'm being silly. I want to make her laugh and hear her playing with my boys. I want to feel her warmth again.

Part of what is making me sad is knowing eventually I will be okay again. I know that's not an insult to her memory - its actually a tribute to her.

But I just don't want to live in a world without her.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011