After – 3 Years 4 Months 6 Days

This was our 4th Memorial Day without my dad.  It is still hard to comprehend that it has been that long.

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These past few weeks have been hectic at our house with some big milestones.  My son graduated from high school and my daughter was baptized.  I remember one of my first thoughts after dad was diagnosed was that he was going to miss these specific events.  The few weeks leading up to all this were hard.  I would cry every time I thought about it. The graduation didn’t end up being as hard as the baptism.  My dad would have been the one to perform my daughter’s baptism.  Instead my brother did.  Which was wonderful.  We (My brother, Rachel and I) had a little melt down cry in the hall right before he did the baptism.  But it turned out beautifully.  My dad was there, we could feel the peace surrounding us.

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When they posed for these pictures my mom said “Leave room for grandpa.”

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We’ve been helping my mom clean out her house.  It’s amazing what you can accumulate in 45 years of marriage.  I found one of my dad’s journals he kept when I was 10-15 yrs old.  I’m not all the way through it yet but it is comforting to be reading his words.

Thank you all for your kind emails and comments.  I read them all and I apologize if I don’t respond immediately.  I do pray for you and hope you all have peace in your experiences.

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After – 19 Months DISTANCE

dis·tance

a) separation in time

b) an extent of advance from a beginning

c) personal and especially emotional separation

 

It’s been 19 months since dad died.  That is a lot of time.  582 days or 13,968 hours, or 838,080 minutes give or take.  That is a lot of distance between now and then.  But some days it still feels like seconds.

I’ve written about how my mom is serving an LDS mission.  It is tradition that the Sunday before a missionary leaves they give a talk in church.  So my family, and my sister and brother’s families, drove down and went to church with her that day to hear her speak.  It was nice to be all together.  The grand kids had fun playing together and it ended up that a lot of extended family and friends came and supported my mom as well.

This is where my point of “distance” comes in.  In my mind I think I have been doing very well with everything the last year.  I still get sad.  I miss him.  I still cry now and then.  But I have been able to control it.  There seemed to be enough distance between the actual event of his death and now that I was able to focus on his life and not that horrible 9 days before he died/the funeral/the 3 month black hole afterward.

Until I sat down on the same bench, in the same spot, at the same church as my dad’s funeral.  I sat there and listened to the prelude music for about 1 minute and looked at my husband and said there is absolutely no way I can sit here.  I was trying not to cry, which I’m not very good at, and got up and quickly moved to the far back of the church. I did pretty good after that, only sending my husband out once to get me tissue. Then my mom got up and talked.

She talked about hope and faith.  She is a good speaker, always has been.  Honestly I don’t remember a lot of what she said because in my mind I was thinking “Please don’t let me totally lose it when/if she talks about dad.”

I am not a beautiful crier.  I don’t look Demi Moore in Ghost, or Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail.  I am a horrible ugly crier that snorts and sobs.  (I have wedding video proof.) In the last minutes of my mom’s talk she talked about how she had faith and hope that someday she would see my dad again and live for eternity with him. There was another 5 minutes after that that I didn’t hear because I had to get up AGAIN and leave the chapel and run RUN into the hallway.  Where I proceeded to hyperventilate because on top of all this emotion I was sick with a cold so I couldn’t breath out of my nose.  My kind and loving sister followed me out and talked me through it, helped me start breathing again normally, and gave me yards and yards of toilet paper.  I felt like an idiot.

I don’t know if there will ever be enough distance between the death of my dad and me being ok with it.  I think with time we just get better dealing with the grief publicly.  It gets easier (most of the time) to not cry when you see a cute little old man that reminds you of your dad at the grocery store, or feel empty inside when you can’t call him and tell him that BYU still sucks even though they did win their first football game, or just want to hug him. You just learn to control it. But it still hurts.

We Are Not Made for Endings

I was raised in the LDS church.  I grew up in Utah and Idaho.  In the “bubble” as I like to call it.  Since I have moved away from home and had my own family I have gone between being an active member of the church to an inactive member.  Even though I am not active right now I still strongly believe in the teachings of this church.  The belief of eternal life and more so of eternal families has gotten me through the past 14 months.

Twice a year the LDS church has a conference where there are many talks given to inspire and uplift its members.  I didn’t watch it, but did however find a reference to this talk on another blog from a talk given.  It felt like it was written just for me.  Which I imagine is how a lot people felt when they heard these words.

This is a small part of the talk.  You can read the whole talk here.

We Are Not Made for Endings

In light of what we know about our eternal destiny, is it any wonder that whenever we face the bitter endings of life, they seem unacceptable to us? There seems to be something inside of us that resists endings.

Why is this? Because we are made of the stuff of eternity. We are eternal beings, children of the Almighty God, whose name is Endless and who promises eternal blessings without number. Endings are not our destiny.

The more we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all. They are merely interruptions—temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting the faithful.

How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father that in His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings.

By President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Comfort. These words give me comfort and peace.  Something I haven’t felt much of the past 14 months.