Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Joy and Sorrow

["God loves me enough to let me go through all the lessons I came here to learn, even the ones that hurt the most. His presence doesn't deny me. It's always there to help me see and understand what I came to this planet to learn." - Melody Beattie]

Those who know me and my family know the challenges that we all have endured the past year and half.  Many have had to endure much worse than I; however, my burden was enough to hurt. 

I am a firm believer that without sorrow we would not know joy. This year has proved this true. After losing my Dad on August 13, 2011 I thought I'd get a break for a bit.  Although I was able to be very strong during this time, his loss took a huge part of my heart with it.  I was blessed enough to have a wonderful husband who stood by my side and helped me see the positive in it all. I was also blessed to be able to continue attending church in the same ward my father attended prior to his passing. Fast as it happened, a year had passed.  

Ryan and I made the difficult decision to leave our jobs and our life in Georgia and move back to Utah.  We felt it was important to be near our family and my mom. We felt her days were short, but we did not know how long.  When we made the decision, things did not go as smoothly as planned but we pushed forward. It is hard to leave a place I called home my entire life. Ryan, however, did find a great job in Salt Lake City and I was able to transfer to a new location within my company. We felt like that was enough to know the decision was right.

In-between the decision being made, a lot of joy followed. We had the opportunity to go to the beach and spend a week with my Mom, Sister, Brother-In-Law, and cute Nephew. It was such a wonderful wonderful week. I cannot say I have had that much fun in Panama City Beach. It was so nice spending quality time with my family, that I hadn't had in awhile.

After the beach I had the opportunity to be apart of my best friend Mary Hughey's wedding! Her wedding was absolutely beautiful and I was so incredibly happy for her. I made life long friends and became closer with friends I already had. Not to mention, Mary was a beautiful bride and I am grateful all her dreams came true! I know the work she put into her wedding and I envy her dedication and patience with it all. 

Shortly after Mary's wedding, Ryan and I headed to Utah. About 3 days into the drive my Mom called to let us know she had to go into surgery again.  The doctors didn't believe her stent in her main artery of her liver had been successful. They wanted to go in and see if it had and possibly stent again. This sent my emotions up the wall. That night, I cried in the hotel fearful that I may not get to see my mom by the time I made it to Utah. I knew the risks and this terrified me. At this point I felt hopeless. I then got a call the next morning that the procedure would be postponed till further notice. The doctor wanted to give her liver time to remove the bile. The liver was so compromised by her tumor that they believed it would take longer than most. I was relieved but still worried for her long term health. However, my mom always had an option. There was always a way to prolong her life. I felt confident that all would go well.

We arrived to Utah on a Friday, late. I believe it was the 25th of August. When I arrived and saw my mom, I realized her health was not in a good state. I tried to stay positive and believe that it was just a rough patch. A week went by with no improvement. Friday morning she went in for her procedure. Ryan, April, and I went to her pre-surgery and spent time with her. She was pretty out of it, and could not really walk on her own. It was very hard to watch. In reality, I had never seen my mom in such a state, but mentally I was blocking out any possibility of what was really happening. The surgery went quickly. They cleaned out her main artery and her ducts. However, the bad news followed.

The doctor and a hospice social worker had us all meet in a room. The room had no windows, only a lot of couches. We knew what we were going to be told, but we all tried to keep a smile on our faces. I distinctly remember trying to distract my self by watching my nephew Kason poke around and laugh and say "uh oh." While this was happening the doctor was telling us my mom had no more than 2 weeks to live. Her tumor had over taken her liver completely and there was nothing at this point they could do. I remember trying to accept that I already knew this was the outcome and that I didn't want her to suffer. What I didn't realize was how quick her life would pass, and how much I was not ready to lose her.

I remember comparing her last days to my dad, but really there was no comparison. Both were difficult, both were different. I had prepared myself more than I had realized for my dad's passing. He had received all the blessing he wanted to in this life, and was ready to go. Somehow, in my heart I couldn't feel that way with my mom. A lot of it is probably selfishness, but it's my reality.

I watched her fade away day after day. Her mind was going, along with her vitals. A lot happened in between with her health and medicines I'd rather not discuss. I had the opportunity the last night she was really "talking" to sing our goodnight song together, and say our goodnight routine. I was blessed enough to get this on camera so I can hold it dear to me forever.

The next fews days her blood pressure began to drop tremendously. Eventually on September 9th, 2012 her blood pressure became unreadable. It was below 50/30. Our sweet hospice nurse was called and stood by our sides for hours. The hours passed slowly, and we became anxious. All of her kids were at her home and surrounded her throughout all the hours. I faded in and out of sleep on her empty hospital bed she refused to use. I woke up at 1:55AM on Monday Sept 10th after getting about an hour and a half of rest. I sat by my moms side holding her hand. I counted the seconds between each breath, and watched them slow. It wasn't long after that my mom passed away with all her kids surrounding her, holding her. It was a sad thing to experience, but at the same time I knew she was at peace.

A wonderful experience happened as the Funeral Home took my mom away. All the of the kids at that moment knew she was happy. I do not want to share, because I want to hold that close to my heart.

The funeral was held Saturday the 15th, and it was beautiful. It was just how she would have wanted it. I want to thank all of those close to my mother and myself, and some who barely knew either of us, or my family for attending and supporting us. It has not been an easy road. We have a long road ahead of us. 

I am going through an internal battle of peace and sorrow. I am so grateful; however, to have the Gospel in my life and to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (click the link if you would like to know more about our religion). The testimony I have gained throughout my life from the help of my family, husband, and especially my parents, is what is helping me through. I am so grateful that I KNOW families can be and will be together forever. It is comforting to know I have two beautiful Angels looking after me above. I am grateful I am bringing a child into this world at the same time all this is happening. It helps me to understand God's plan. We come to this earth to learn, to grow and we all eventually leave. One of my siblings put this into a great analogy. We are all on the same interstate, we all eventually get off an exit. We don't know which exit is ours and we won't know till we get there, we all get off at different times. I pray that my faith will continue to grow during this time of grief. I know my Heavenly Father is watching over me and carrying me through such a difficult time. I never knew this would be my challenge my trial, but I do believe I chose this before I came here. I know that God would never give me anything I could not handle. I know that this will make me a better, stronger, person. Although it is painful, I am grateful. I had the most wonderful, courageous, humble, loving, giving parents in the entire world. It was an honor to have them as my parents, and it is an honor that it is them who is preparing a way for me on the other side. I am grateful for the loving and supporting husband who gives me strength everyday. I don't know what I would have done without him, but I know he is my Angel on earth. I am grateful to have such wonderful brothers and sisters who stand by me and defend me me through everything. 

It was never my intention to share all of my feelings through this process; however, I know many people will go through this experience at some point in their life. It is NEVER easy to lose a parent, and you CANNOT possibly prepare yourself for the passing. I pray that anyone who has or will go through this, will know that you are strong enough to endure. It is not an impossible hurdle. Faith is your most trustworthy companion, and prayer is constant. Life does move on, the pain does begin to subside. The pain may never leave, but it does get easier. There is a reason we are all on this earth. Some for only moments, others for over 100 years. We must take this time in our life to better ourselves, to grow, to learn. I can say my parents always did that. They were wonderful people and perfect examples.

I thank you for reading this and hope it is passed along for others to read, so they can know that they are not alone, or that it is possible to "be okay"

Mom, I love you and I am so grateful for all that you have done for me in my life. I am thankful that you blessed me with the greatest gift of all, the gospel. Thank you, and I love you always and forever.


  1. I am so sorry to hear about all of this- you are so strong. My husband (Alex), lost both of his parents similarly; his dad first then his mom within a year from each other. We felt it wasn't fair that so much bad could happen in just one year. However, it only brought us closer to the gospel and we ended up getting sealed 7 months after his mom passed. Thank you for sharing your emotions and feelings; it reminds me on why family, life, and the gospel is so important. (And why I chose to get sealed to my family during such a hard time.) I love to hear your testimony. Know that you will be in our prayers.

  2. This post made me cry. You are so strong; I admire you for handling this so gracefully. Your parents raised you right!!