Monday, October 29, 2012

To Have Loved and Lost

Today, on the fourteenth anniversary of THE  terrible, horrible no good, very bad day, I took my grief out of the mothballs in the closet.  Giving it a good shake to remove the cobwebs, I held it up to the sun and inspected it.  Considering how often it has been used and abused over the past fourteen years,  it is in remarkably good condition.   

Through the years I have used it less and less.   But on October 29th each year, the memories come rushing back like a tidal wave.  And no matter how much I think  that time should have built up the sandbags high enough to protect my heart, the waves of grief sweep over me once again, drawing me down into the depths of despair.  

 Often it strikes suddenly and without warning.  One minute I am driving in the car and the next I am swept down into a deep, dark place that is the memory of the unimaginable pain of losing a child through a failed adoption.  It is as if time stands still, and I am transported back to the moment I placed her last bag into the car and watched her drive away from me forever.   

And then suddenly I am back to reality, I can breathe again, the imaginary carving knife is removed from my chest and life goes on.  But I am left feeling as if the wind has been knocked from my body.  The world is gray.  Nothing tastes good.  Colors are subdued.   

As I continue working, I accomplish the tasks before me.  A phone is picked up, a question answered, an appointment set, and an email sent.  But all the time, I am bracing myself for the next assault.  For I know it will come as sure as the sun will rise each day.  

And then again without warning, another flashback to a house packed in the U-haul leaving the house dark and empty and the tears that came until late into the night.   When you have wept longer and harder than you ever thought possible, you lay on the floor limp and lifeless as a rag doll, hoping the ground will open and swallow you whole.  But that is not the way life or Heavenly Father works.  Instead you are given a chance to stretch and grow from the pain and to feel the comfort that only the Savior can offer.   

And suddenly it is time to fix dinner and pick up kids and do the things that mothers do.  Eventually the evening is over and the day, THE DREADED DAY, comes to a close.  But before I go to bed, I sit quietly in my rocking chair with that grief that is as familiar to me as my favorite pair of jeans or worn out quilt.  Rocking back and forth, as if to soothe that grief back to sleep.

  And as I rock that grief, I sing softly that eventually, all will be right.   That perhaps someday the pain will fade to a bearable level.  All the time knowing if that day were to come, I would feel that diminished pain to be a betrayal, and so I would never let it happen. 

 My grief and I, we have spent some special bonding time together through the years and today, and I am ready to place it back in the closet for another year.  Life will go on.  I will laugh and and I will smile and sometimes even cry.  Rationally I know that enjoying my life today does not mean I loved her any less.  

 But somehow, I will be forever changed by the fact that I loved and lost.  And perhaps it is OK, because I have grown used to this person I have become.  The one that keeps a special piece of my heart locked up and set aside for a blue eyed, blonde haired three year old little girl, who is now seventeen.   

We will be forever connected she and I, by an invisible thread, and someday, if not in this life, then the next, we will meet again.  And it is the joy of that day that I must cling to like a life preserver as I swim to shore out of the chilly, crippling depths of despair.

Until next year, my friend.  See ya, next year.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Whole Famdamily

 As part of our family reunion we got family pictures taken.
Let me just say, that I don't really enjoy family pictures
because there seems to be a lot of complaining and whining
that goes along with the picture taking.
And then there are the kids comments as well.
Add that to the whole stress of what to wear, 
and it just seems to be a miserable time.
As a matter of fact, we haven't had very many family pictures since
Trent was 12.

But while we were all there we managed to stand together and we don't
look completely horrible, so there is that.
 Here is one of the three kids.
Hard to believe how grown up they have become.
And the one with the spouse.
And I do kind of like this one of me and Diana.  
Glad I took my glasses off so there wouldn't be a glare.
And here is one of the whole extended family, except for the niece who was on her honeymoon, and my brother who was in Seattle.  Probably the best we will ever do in getting this many people together at the same time, especially now that the teenage boys will start heading off on missions.
So yay for the end of another family picture taking session.  And we are all mostly still talking to each other, so it is all good.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I scream, U scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream

After being in the heat all afternoon,
what could be better than Ice cream?
I am still fascinated by the fact that you 
can get a soft serve ice cream for $1 at 
the grocery store in Utah.

One of my favorite things about visiting there.
We never make a trip to Spanish Fork without
indulging in this low cost yumminess.
(Why does spell check not know that yumminess is a word?
It is too a word.)

Taylor and Hunter
Diana, Brooklyn, Ali, and Lizzie
Tanner and Miles
Megan, Raeley, Diana, Brooklyn, Ali, and Lizzie
Whole group shot that includes Laura and Michael

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pranks and Playing at Salem Pond

After the wedding, we all hung out in Spanish Fork for a few days
for the Nelson family reunion.
One of our favorite places to go, is
Payson Pond.
If you are ever in the area and haven't been,
you should go.
There are many things to do there.
Canoeing is a favorite.
Here are Kris, Lizzie, and Laura, with Taylor in the water.

Miles is thrilled that Nathan is giving him a ride.
Grandma and Grandpa take a turn.
Those not in the canoe, made marshmallow guns.
We let everyone make the kind they wanted
and there was a big variety.
Here Lizzie is showing us her little pistol and water balloons.
That little pistol was just the right size for her.
With it, she was ready to take on the world.
Check out this picture where she takes on her cousin Michael.
She is sure she can take him, even though he and his gun are ten times bigger than she is.
My Dad and Marion establish a fortress for the marshmallow war of 2012.
They take on the teenage boys.
You can just see Brandon off behind the trees.

I think this is the best picture ever.
Grandpa is picking up some more ammunition,
Lizzie catches him at a bit of a disadvantage.

After the marshmallow war, it was time for the balloon fight.

Oh, and look we caught a snake.
Diana's turn to hold it.
Brooklyn and Ali are swimming buddies.
Close up of Diana and Raeley.
There is a chance for visiting and catching up on the latest.
Or you can lay on the grass and have a bit of a nap.
Susan is showing off her marshmallow gun.

The girls with their guns.
Here is a close up of these four girls
who are lucky to be so close in age.

And check out this picture of the four of them about ten years ago, 
My how they have all grown.

A good time was had by all at Payson Pond, once again.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Wonderful Wedding

After Trent's homecoming, I worked like a maniac for the next two weeks.  
Long hours, little rest, blah, blah, blah.
You get the picture.
We needed to get to Utah for my niece's wedding.
Because I was working at a place that is on the way out of town,
I devised a plan where my family would load up the car,
and come and pick me up.
And then we would head to Utah.
I figured that this would mean we could get on the road earlier than 
if I drove the twenty minutes home and then back again.  
I failed to fully appreciate the crucial role that I always play
in packing for trips/getting everyone out of the house.
In the end after many phone calls asking me where such and such was,
they picked me up and we were off.
And luckily no one forgot anything that a trip to the store couldn't fix.
We made it to Spanish Fork by about 11:00 pm.

Friday morning we were up early in order to be to the Mt Timpanogas Temple by 9:30.
Unfortunately, Trent got another cyst on his tailbone and it was really
bothering him to the point that he couldn't sleep.
I didn't see how he was going to make through the day without a visit to the doctor.
And really the day was very full,
so I sent him off with my husband to the urgent care in Springville.
They got there right when it opened at 8:00 am.  
Luckily, they got it treated and got antibiotics and made it to the temple right 
about the same time we did.

The wedding ceremony was beautiful.  Being in the sealing room with 5 of my siblings and their spouses doesn't happen very often.  It was very special.  
My Dad is a sealer in the Seattle Temple and he was able to 
marry my niece.  There was such a wonderful spirit there.

Next came the very suspenseful time where we hoped that all the kids would make it to the temple.
There were 18 grand kids raging from 18 - 8 months.  There were actually 3 18 year olds, 
which was perfect because there were 3 cars that needed to be driven.
When we left at 9:00 am none of the kids were dressed because they were still
eating breakfast and it was unrealistic to think that they could keep themselves 
picture presentable for an hour and a half when eating and playing outside were involved.
So there were 6 teenagers who had to get 12 smallish children presentable and to 
the temple by 10:30.
And it actually did happen, so that was all good.

While we waited for the happy couple to come out of the temple,
we took some family pictures.

Here is my family.  I think this picture was taken on my phone and that is why it is a bit blurry.

Here is my sister Amie's family.
Here is my brother Andrew's family.
And my sister Jennifer's family.
Finally the waiting was over and they came out of the temple.
Don't they look too adorable?
Because of missions and honeymoons, we had to get a shot of all the grand kids on this the wedding day.
It will be the last time all of these kids will be together for who knows how long.
Trent is the oldest, and he is holding Benjamin who is the youngest of the the twenty grand kids.
I think the fact that most everyone is smiling in this shot is nothing short of a miracle.

And here is one with Grandma and Grandpa.

Next it was time for the reception.
Have I mentioned how much fun I think it is to work in the kitchen
at weddings and funerals?  I think the best times happen
on those occasions.
Here is a shot of the cute backdrop they made for behind the food.
It is super cute and hides the staging station that is behind where 
the food was prepped.
Here is a shot of the food.  It was simple but delicious with a 
chocolate fountain and bread and spinach dip.
Cute shot of Amie and Benjamin, who wonders why am I wearing this tie?
Diana took some amazing pictures at this reception.
I love this one of these four girls.
So fun that they are such good friends.
They were also good sports and helped clear tables.
I love this shot Diana got of the cute jars with baby's breath.
How does she think of this angle with the tables in the background?
Here is a shot of the jars from the front.
Check out this great shot Diana got of one of the bridesmaids bouquets.
And she got this one of the bouquet, cake and jars in the background.
Here is one of the teenage guys.  There is this group of boys, but then 
a whole bunch of girls came along.
They look pretty handsome.
And here we made my niece stand in the picture with them.
Time to cut the cake.

Everyone watching the cake cutting.
Here is a shot of the cute lights they strung up over the whole back yard.
It was so pretty as it got dark.
This was the start of our family reunion and it couldn't have been nicer in any way.
Yay for weddings and love and happy couples.