Friday, November 26, 2010

Tough Topic

I don't know why, but I feel like I need to post this link on here. It is a very tough topic to discuss. It is about verbal and emotional abuse. The article was published in the June 1996 Ensign. When I read this, I was floored to realize that I could recognize many forms of this abuse in my own life. I think verbal and emotional abuse are more dangerous because the victim doesn't even realize what is going on and often tells themselves that it isn't a big deal, that we can deal with it or it isn't worth bringing up. We tell ourselves that we are just being sensitive and it is probably just in our head, or that we deserve it. But slowly over time it wears on you and wears on you until you start to believe that what you want doesn't matter, you are stupid, it is all your fault, etc. I have often been told, "Can't you take a joke?" I learned to make myself the butt of jokes so that people thought I was laughing at myself and knew how to have a good time because if I ever expressed that what someone said hurt me, I was made to look like a fool and a poor sport. Along with my low self-esteem, it was a dangerous combination. I was so desperate for people to love me that I would put up with anything. It allowed men to abuse me verbally, emotionally and sexually. Then I would think that it was all my fault, that there was just something about me that made men want to do those things to me, that I must have asked for it somehow. I carried it for years as my fault and beat myself up everyday over it. It wasn't until recently that I have learned that I was not at fault. I have been beating myself up over something that someone else did, taking all the blame. I would hear about abuse victims often feeling like they were the dirty ones and that is why they wouldn't tell anyone about it. But I thought to myself, I really am a bad person. That is why I didn't tell anyone.

So maybe I feel the need to share these things so that someone doesn't make the same mistake I did. Maybe the form of abuse is so subtle that you don't think that you should take any action against it because it will just stir up trouble. You want to be Christ-like and turn the other cheek. I have had all of these thoughts. This article opened my eyes to the ugly truth and now I am so sensitve to any form of it that I feel sick to my stomach whenever I hear it. I sometimes hear spouses do it to each other and I recognize it for what it is now. I can't believe how much it goes on and all in the name of teasing or just being truthful. If it is hurtful, it isn't teasing or fun. Sometimes you might say it in jest, but the person hearing it doesn't know that and takes it as truth and you can never take the effects of that comment back. I have had many experiences like that, things that have affected me for life.

I was given a formula for whether or not something should be said.
In order for you to say something out loud to someone, it must meet two out of three of these criteria.
Is it true?
Is it nice?
Is it necessary?

After I read this I discussed it with my husband and my children and we did a Family Home Evening lesson on it. I keep a copy of it in my journal so that we can constantly be checking ourselves to see if we are doing better. I hope that you can find it useful.

I hope I don't seem like a downer, but there are just some topics you can't laugh at or take lightly and need to be addressed and stopped before the cycle perpetuates. I actually had someone say to me, "You like being mocked, don't you?" And I stopped dead in my tracks. I have taught people that it is okay to mock me because I can "take a joke", but in reality, sometimes it hurts. Or one instance where someone said to me, "but you should just automatically know I love you." So what I'm hearing is, I must look underneath all the garbage and the rude, mean things they say to find the underlying love that is hidden somewhere. That is not how love is supposed to be. I actually thought that if someone was teasing me and giving me a hard time, that must mean they like me. That sounds like kindergarten all over again. Well, if a boy pulls your hair then he must like you. So abuse equals love? CRAZY!

So that brings me to another topic. Change. I have changed. I no longer want to be verbally abused as a form of love. I no longer want to be manipulated. I no longer care about what others think of me. I am no longer so desperate for someone's love that I would let them do what ever they want to me. These changes aren't visible, tangible things that people would be able to look at me and say, "I see I can no longer manipulate Kris." I mean I wish I could wear a sign that says, "I don't tolerate abuse anymore." It would make it so much easier. The thing about change is, there are many people around us that don't like it when we change. Especially those we are closest to because they have gotten into a routine that suits them just fine. If you change, that means the people around you are going to have to change, as well. One example is family. You try to go home and have a nice visit and how many of us fall back into our old routine because our family members have gotten used to treating us a certain way? We oblige to make the visit as nice as possible, with no drama. Or in our marriages. I have seen instances where one spouse tries to change and the other spouse, who is the abuser, goes crazy because they no longer have control over that person and they don't want that change. There are people around you who don't want you to change because it will mean happiness and freedom for you and they are miserable so they can't stand to see that you have overcome your demons and are happy now. These people do everything in their power to bring you back down and put you back into your box. I mean, how dare you try to come out of your shell when they didn't say you could. I have dealt with all of it, all the while telling myself that I will be the peacemaker at the expense of my own self-worth. But I KNOW who I am now and no one is going to ever use me or abuse me again. Now if I hear something abusive towards me, I address it immediately. It isn't always pleasant, believe me. I don't like confrontation, but I also don't like being made to feel stupid or less than I am. If I feel like I am being manipulated, I end the conversation.

Let me know your thoughts on the article. I also felt that it was important that I watch my tongue with my children. How many times do I say something in frustration that maybe is not true or nice or necessary that might break their poor little heart and injure them more than a slap would. So even if you don't think you have to deal with these things in your life, it is just nice to be aware of the different forms and make sure you protect your loved ones from it the best you can. These things were very difficult for me to share. I hope that you all take them in the spirit it was intended and that was to hopefully help people see that they don't have to put up with it and if you have a problem with saying abusive things, you will be able to recognize that it is abuse and try to change it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude

I am awestruck by the Savior's grace and mercy and how much he is invested in each one of us. He quietly leads us to places within ourselves and says "what could you be doing better in this area?" He teaches you and then provides an experience for you to learn from. Or he sees that you are struggling and he sends an "angel" to lift you or to say just the thing you needed to hear at that particular moment. They might not even know they are your angel. They are just following a prompting to do or say something, not thinking anything of it.
I have had so many of these experiences through out my life, but I have never been as grateful for them as I am now.
I am so grateful for those people that put themselves in the Lord's hands and are willing to be his instruments. They have lifted me time and again and probably have no idea what they have done for me. I hope one day they will get to see the effect they had on my life. It is so beautiful! It shows how much our Savior truly loves us as individuals. I sometimes think, with all that He has to do and to watch over, how does he have the time to let one person know that they need to call me and share with me.
I had a friend call today. She had no idea what I have been going through. But she just felt the need to open up to me about what she has been going through and it was exactly what I needed to hear. It was not a coincidence. I am so humbled!
It makes me think of President Monson's talk on having an attitude of gratitude. When we start to open our eyes to all of the bounteous blessings around us, our vision expands and then we REALLY start to see, even more than we did before and it blows me away. You start to notice the tiniest little thing that before you might have blown off as just happenstance, but now it is seen for what it is...a huge sign that you are being taken care of, that someone hears and He loves you. And when we acknowledge what He has given us, He will bless us even more.
I just had to share my gratitude. I was overwhelmed by it. You know we read about these things over and over in the scriptures, but until you have truly FELT "to sing the song of redeeming love", you just can't grasp it. It becomes cliche. I hope I never lose the feelings I have been experiencing over the last few months. I hope I can always be grateful even amidst tragedy.
Have a blessed day and be able to recognize it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A little Secret

I wanted to thank all of you who have sent me kind messages about my blogging therapy. :0) I have a little secret to share with you. It terrifies me to put myself out there like that. If you only knew how much I "hem" and "haw" over whether or not I should say something or not. I'm worried I will upset someone or you will think I'm crazy. Over the last couple of months I have been changing into a different person. I realized that I have been shutting people out of my life and not sharing my deeper self with anyone because I was afraid that once someone knew the "real" me, they would not love me anymore. I thought I was such a terrible person that no one could love me. I have come to realize that that is not true. It was a real "duh" moment for me. Sad, huh? I'm 34 years old and still feel like a little child inside, scared, afraid, cowering in a corner. But when I realized what I was doing and that it wasn't the best way to go about life, I decided then and there to change. I am reaching out to people. It still scares me to death, but the kind words from you have given me strength to keep at it.

It is easier doing it through blogging because I don't know how it affects people and I can't see your face. I am trying to work my way up to doing it more in person. This is very daunting for me. I can't even tell you the emotional turmoil it causes. My natural instinct is to hole up in my house and not talk to anyone. I wish I could just raise my kids and never interact with a single soul. I have to fight this instinct every day of my life. And I do. I attend my book club, I go play volleyball, I go to church, I sing in front of people, I tell people how much they mean to me, all of it scaring me to the point that sometimes my hands and knees shake. I probably have some sort of anxiety disorder, but I am fighting it. People are usually shocked to hear that I have to struggle with this every day because I seem like such a confident person. It just reminds me that I can never judge anyone by their outside appearance. If I struggle with this and no one knows, I often wonder about what others are going through that I just don't know. I feel compassion for everyone I meet and try to get to know their story and who they really are. I try to help them feel that I love them for who they are and that they never need to put on a show with me. It kind of makes me hypocritical because I am scared to show who I really am. But I am working on it.

I realize that we train people how to treat us and I have trained everyone around me to keep their distance. How do I undo that? I have had to really step outside of my comfort zone and make an effort to let people know that I am ready to let them in. It will probably take some time. There are some that have already welcomed me with open arms like they have just been waiting for me. The Savior has been one of those people. He has just been waiting for me to come to Him and let Him heal me from all of my baggage. It opened my eyes to what the scriptures Matthew 11:28-30 are telling us.

"Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

So that is what I am doing. I take all of my uneasiness and anxiety and I lay it at the Lord's feet, I ask Him what he would have me do and He whispers it to me through the Holy Ghost, then I do it. No questions asked. I take up His yoke and it is easier and lighter because I know that if I am doing what the Savior wants me to do, it must be right and that brings me peace, or rest. I know that no matter what happens, it will be for my good. It isn't as easy as it sounds, my natural self still fights it sometimes, but I am gaining more faith and I just need more practice until it becomes natural to me. I hope all of you will bear with me as I strive to grow. My goal in this life is to be more understanding of people and the personal struggles they are facing and to help lift them when I can. I am grateful for those that have done this for me.
Thank you for letting me share with you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Letting Go

I have always loved this picture of Alan and I. I have been thinking back to the morning I found out that Alan had been killed. I just need to share and acknowledge an amazing miracle that happened that morning. The Sherriff that came by to tell us didn't even know that Alan lived here. Out of everything he had in his car, nothing told the cops who to contact or where he lived except one thing. They found some dog tags with our address on it. That address is all they had to go on because he didn't have his drivers license. They found us, not knowing what they were going to find, and we were able to tell them he lived here and who he was. I have been thinking about those dog tags. Alan had only lived here for a little less than three months and as far as I knew, he wasn't planning on living here forever. So why did he have the dog tags made up with our address on them? Out of everything that was in his car and all the things that had been scattered out on the road, how did they find these dog tags? Where and when did he have them made? And most interesting, where are they now? The Sherriff didn't give them to us. We did get a set of dog tags from when he was in the Army back when he graduated HS, but of course our address wasn't on them. So how? I know that it was Heavenly Father's way of letting us know what had happened so that we didn't worry and have to put out a missing person's report or wonder where he was. It was a huge blessing and a miracle. I hope that when we pass to the other side, we will be able to see our life with the veil drawn back that will allow us to see how much divine intervention was put forth on our behalf. I think we will be shocked to see how many times we were saved or protected or strengthened.

Alan left quite a wake of unfinished business for us to deal with. Law suits, credit collectors, an amazing amount of debt and his cat. :0) I have thought about what my choices are in dealing with all of this. And I have just decided to let it all go. I could waste time and energy on dealing with the things that were important in his life, but in the grand eternal scheme of things, none of it really matters. So we will inform the credit agencies that they are never going to get their money, but I am not going to fight his lawsuit battle for him. I'm not going to find his cat that somehow escaped while we were gone. I'm not going to worry about how the accident happened and if there was foul play. God will sort that out in his own due time. None of it will bring him back. At first I felt like a bad sister. But then I realized that it would just bring me anger and turmoil and not peace and forgiveness. My time and energy is better spent on taking care of my children and my amazing husband.

Yesterday, I was pondering about why Heavenly Father brought Alan into my life when I was going through the toughest emotional ordeal and the lowest point in my life. I was lower than dust and didn't even know who I was. I couldn't eat and had little to no energy. This is when Alan stepped into my world. I hope that someday I will be able to see why the timing was necessary for him. I know how it was necessary for me. I was down in the pantry, getting crackers, and I said out loud, "I'm so sorry that I was not able to reach out to you like I wanted to because I was such a mess," and the most amazing thing happened. I felt his arms surround me and give me a big hug, I felt the most amazing love wash over me, and I heard the words, "It is okay." I started crying. Now you, the reader, can question my sanity at this point or say that maybe I just wanted it so badly that I thought that is what I felt, but I know that I have never felt anything like that before or so strongly that it moved me so deeply. Even if it wasn't "real", it felt wonderful and brought me comfort and so I am thankful for that experience. It is what allowed me to finally let go and say good-bye. I will still miss him, I will still cry when something reminds me of him, but I am now ready to move on.

Thank you for sharing this journey with me. I hope that it touched some of you and let you know that you aren't alone in some of your thoughts and feelings. I hope it allowed you to see the day to day miracles that happen in our lives.
I will now get back to regularly scheduled programming, or in other words, the mundane happenings called Life.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Alan's photography

Some of these were taken with Al's cell phone. Pretty amazing. I told him he should go into photography. :0)

The next 5 pics were taken at the Red Rocks Amphitheater

Colorado Sunset

Sunset at the Webster's BBQ

Colorado storm clouds rolling in.
As seen from our deck. He thought that was pretty cool.

To My Mom

I hope that by expressing myself about past hurts and pain that I haven't hurt you in any way. I want you to know that I love you dearly. The thing I am learning is that everyone has their own personal struggles and things they are working through. Isn't that what life is all about? We are here to learn and grow from them and it is our trials that bring us closer to the Lord. I have learned to ask myself "what am I supposed to learn from this?" Not "why did this happen to me?" I am thankful for every trial I have been through. It has formed me into who I am today. I have often thought that if it weren't for the dark times, we wouldn't be able to appreciate the Light. The Light shines that much brighter when we come out of the dark and we turn to the Light that much more.
Please don't beat yourself up for things you did or didn't do. The beauty of the Gospel is that we have our free agency to chose if we will be happy or miserable. The more we trust in the Lord, the easier it is to be happy. He also bore our pain and our sorrows and knows exactly what we are going through. If we feel the inner yearnings to change, he will help us and is just waiting for us to ask for his help!
I have been thinking about all of the beautiful things you have brought into my life. First and foremost, you had me at a time when you were coming back to the church. That has been the biggest blessing of all in my life. I can't even imagine where I would be if you hadn't had the courage to make that change and come back. You also had the courage to get out of some bad marriages and you found Dad. It was painful to feel cast aside by fathers who were supposed to love me and take care of me, but I know it was for the best. I am grateful every day of my life that I have Richard as my father. You brought music into my life. You used to sing me songs all the time. I didn't make it easy for you with requests like "Handel's Messiah, the Hallelujah Chorus". LOL Music has been another huge blessing in my life. You also taught me how to be a hard worker and how to clean those corners! :0) Through the years you have provided me with many self help books in an effort to help me, and I love that about you! I am definitely a better person because you have been my mother. You are such a beautiful angel to me. I hope you know that and never doubt it! I'm sure my kids will have lots of issues with how I raised them, but we are doing the best we can, aren't we. :0) And Heavenly Father will be there to help them work through the things that I was lacking in. And so it goes....
I don't want you to think I blame you or harbor any anger towards you in any way. Through the atonement, we are healed and our very natures are changed. It is so blessedly WONDERFUL! Don't worry about Alan. If Heavenly Father has been so mindful of us and our needs, I know that he has done the same for Alan. He will be okay.
I just didn't want anyone to think that I have been whining and feeling sorry for myself. I feel abundantly blessed and I am full of Joy. The people I have been blessed with to be my friends are so amazing. Words cannot express how much love you have brought into my life at a very dark time, when I needed it the most. Family has been another great blessing, even family I have never met or don't know very well. I have come to realize that the relationships we form in this life are what sustain us and the things we will treasure once we are called home.
Man, I am such a sap! But I needed to express my gratitude, even for this trial because through it I have been set free from chains I had forged. I am now ready to move on and soar. Break free from your chains and lay them at the Savior's feet.
I love you, Mommy. I hope you know it and now everyone who reads this blog will know it, too :0)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Tale of Two Brothers

First of all, can I just say I love my Heavenly Father and believe that all things are for our good, but my first question to Him is going to be, "What is up with PMS?" It takes our emotions and magnifies them x100! I guess the one bonus is it keeps me humble. I know I have to turn to him more than ever during those times. Yesterday I was so emotional. I just sat and balled and balled and then Rob came home and I balled and balled. Poor guy. I have to say he is amazing. He has been so supportive and willing to do anything to help out my parents and me. He has been my rock, especially over the last couple of months. I will have to make it up to him somehow.
So with the death of Alan, my thoughts have naturally turned to the death of my other brother, Ricky. Ricky and I were only siblings on this earth for a short time, 9 months. He and I were thrown together in a blended family. He was the oldest in his family and I was the oldest in my family. Both of us shouldered a lot of responsibility at a young age. We both watched over our younger siblings and cared for them. When we first met, he was not very nice to me. I in turn would try to make his life miserable. Did he think I was happy about all of a sudden being the middle child? Then I don't know what happened, but one day we were good friends. He really took me under his wing. He would let me hang out in his room and listen to Ratt or Cinderella (popular bands at the time). You couldnt help but love Ricky. He had the best sense of humor! One day we were making dinner and he stuck the raw chicken on his hand and started attacking the kids with it, singing, "Attack of the killer chicken!" He would make the mundane task of washing dishes fun. I loved washing dishes with him and to this day I still love washing dishes. He was also very talented. He would draw pictures and write stories. I wanted to be just like him. We would try to do fun things for the kids. We pulled together a New Year's party. He would let me ride in his car with him. I was only 11 at the time, but he treated me like his equal. One day we were driving around Burley and we saw this sign for free kittens, so we decided to pick one up for the kids. We brought it home and our dad made us take it back. I was so bummed. One night I fell down the stairs. It was a new house and the stairs were steep. He came out and said, "Are you dead?" I was crying, but that made me laugh. I had found someone that understood me and was watching out for me. But I was also there for him. I remember he would get uspet about something, as teenagers do. He would go sit in his car and turn up the music. I would find him and sit in his car with him and listen to him vent. I wanted him to know that I understood and I cared. Then he was taken. I didn't feel like I had a right to grieve for him because we didn't know each other that long. I buried my grief. But deep down I was very upset that Heavenly father had taken him from me. I understood it was his time to go, but I was upset that he got to move on and had left me behind to deal with everything on my own. That is when my Anerexia started. I was trying to starve myself to death. First of all to see if anyone would even care, second of all because I wanted to die. It took a lot of well placed people in my life to help get me through that time. My grief has shown up in little ways throughout my life. I have always been looking for a brotherly relationship to replace the one I lost, someone that could make me laugh, got my sense of humor and someone that made me feel like they were watching out for me.
With Alan, I have been protecting him and looking out for him my whole life. He was a rambunxious child, to say the least. Very angry, very active. I used to sit on him and beat him into submission. But No One else was allowed to hurt him. There was this kid named Gentry. He bullied Alan bad. One day at recess I got in his face and told him if he ever touched my brother again, I would beat the living snot out of him. He was a big kid. I can't believe I did it, but he never touched Al again. One time Al got thrown in the trash can by some HS boys when he was in Junior High. I told them off, even knowing that he probably egged it on. I have said many prayers and fasted many times for him. One day a few years ago, I had the sudden thought that he was going to kill himself. I was frantic. I tried calling him and he wouldn't answer. I didn't know what to do. I was in Minnesota and he was in Wisconsin. So I don't know why, but I called the mission office in Wisconsin and just asked them if they could send some missionaries over to his house to knock on the door. I just needed something to interrupt him. Amazingly, they did as I asked. He was very upset about it. He thought my mom had sent them over to try to convert him. :0) Later, I found out that he had tried to kill himself. When he went on his rampage to try to "open my eyes" to the truth about the church, I listened to him and tried to explain that it was my choice to be active in the church. He thought I was doing it because I was trying to please my mom. He thought Rob was making me have all of these children. He wanted to save me. I truly appreciated that he was doing it out of love for me. He wanted me to be "free" like he was free. But he wasn't happy. I tried to tell him that I was happy and loved my life. It had all been my decision. He was pretty upset and we ended the conversation on a bad note. He called my husband bad names. That was right after we moved to Colorado. He then distanced himself from the family further. But I always prayed for him and asked that his heart would be softened, that he would know that I loved him no matter what. He came out for our family reunion a couple of years ago. That was a big deal for him and us. He talked to my dad and hung out with my brothers. I was wary of him because I didn't know how he felt about me. We didn't really talk, but I gave him a big hug. Then he started sending me messages about how he wanted to write music with me. He sent me a song that he had done and wanted me to write a melody line for it. I was so excited. I wish I had had more time to work on it. I was homeschooling the kids and teaching piano. There just wasn't time. Then one night at the beginning of this year, he said hi to me through chat on FB. I asked him how he was doing and he said not so good. I knew something was wrong. I told him to call me immediately. He didn't answer so I called him. He was crying so badly he couldn't even talk. I just waited for him to calm down and my heart was breaking for him. How could I help him see how to be happy? We had both been through a lot of crap as children. We both felt unwanted, unloved, and we didn't love ourselves. But he had harbored all that pain until it had consumed him and made him bitter. I had dealt with it the best I could and tried to focus on my children. He said he didn't know what he had to live for. I tried to get him to talk about his goals, what he wanted to be, what he wanted to accomplish. He said he just didn't have the motivation to change. He knew he needed to but didn't know how or if he even wanted to. I tried to get him laughing. I don't know if I did much good, but he didn't harm himself. Then I found out that he was going to be homeless. I told him that he had a home with me whenever he needed it. He never needed to ask. He considered moving in with my parents, but situations arose where it wouldn't have been a good idea. So I was his last resort. I told him I was so excited that he was moving in with us. I warned him about the kids. :0) Right at the last minute he said he might not have to because he had a job interview. But it fell through. He came here. He would come out sometimes and read the scriptures with the family and help the little kids read. He would sit with us while we had family prayer. He would join us for dinner every night. We always made him feel welcome and made sure he had a chair at the table. He took lots of pictures of the beauty here in CO. I know he loved it here. He would come with me to play volleyball every once in a while. We would get tacoes and sit in the parking lot and talk until 1 or 2 in the morning. Almost every night he would pop himself two batches of popcorn and take it to his room and eat it all. He would also get his ice water. I will miss the sound of the grinding ice in the middle of the night and the smell of popcorn. We would bring up some ice cream and stick it in the freezer and over the next couple of days it was gone. LOL Or if you left Oreos in the pantry, they disappeared. The thing about Al was, I loved him dearly, but he didn't make it easy to love him. He distanced himself, he was ornery to my kids. One time he started yelling at them because he thought the twins were trying to poison his cat. They had put soap in the cats water or something. The cat threw up all over my basement. I just quietly cleaned it up. He took the cat to live in his room after that. I hope that he could see that I just loved him for who he was. That I accepted him. One time he came out and told me that he thought Rob was a great guy. He respected him and saw that he was a hard worker. He told me he wanted to be more like that. That meant everything to me because of our earlier argument.
The difference between Ricky's death and Alan's death is that I am opening up about my grief this time. Everyone grieves differently and some people are probably like, get over it already. But it is hard to let go of someone you have watched over your whole life. Again, I have lost someone who knew what I was suffering because he was suffering in the same ways. I feel lost. I am glad that he is being taken care of by loved ones on the other side. I am just having a hard time letting him go. I wanted to do so much more.

I feel like I am reliving the grief from Ricky's death at the same time I am mourning Alan's death. Maybe that is good. I can get it out and get it taken care of finally. I can completely be healed from everything I have been carrying with me. Heavenly Father knows what He is doing.

I am feeling better today. I cleaned the house, ate some breakfast and got a shower by 9AM this morning. That is pretty darn good for me. I just had to get this all out. I realized yesterday why I was feeling so unsettled. I took care of it today and will hopefully get some closure from it.

Thanks for letting me vent. Not that anyone really reads everything I write. LOL But it sure does ME some good!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A good memory

This was a very good day. It was shortly after Alan had moved here. The Websters were having a BBQ at their house. They are a couple in my ward and their BBQ's are World famous. :0) I had invited Alan even though I was afraid he would say no because it would have a lot of LDS people there and the missionaries. He came, though. Sister Webster came right up to him and gave him a big hug. That meant a lot to me, that she was so welcoming and loving to him just because he was my brother. Alan and I hung out the entire time. We played ping pong and then went outside and played some other games. It was like we were kids again and all the arguing and bad memories of our childhood were gone. We didn't talk very much, but we didn't have to. We were just content to spend time with each other. At the end, we found Alan taking pictures in the Webster's yard. This was one of the pictures he took. Isn't it gorgeous? I think I will print it and hang it on my wall.
Today is a very hard day for me. I feel so unsettled somehow. I don't want to talk to anyone. I am feeling very anti-social for some reason. I did get up this morning and got the kids off to school with a family prayer. I cleaned the house and then I just sat and played the piano and sang uplifting songs, but I still feel very uneasy. I know it will take time, but I don't want to waste anymore time. The last couple of months I have been changing and becoming a new person. I am anxious to move on with my life and use my new found skills and become what Heavenly Father wants me to be. I guess I am just very impatient. You would think that I would have tons of patience, what with having 9 kids and all. Maybe that is why God sent me so many kids, to teach me patience. Please don't send anymore! I Promise I will learn from the ones you have given me....
Sorry, a little inner dialogue there.
Going to go cry in the shower now.
Kids have a funny way of bringing you back to reality more abruptly than you would like sometimes. I'm having a rough day and Ty decides it would be a good idea to dump BBQ sauce all over my carpet. I clean that up as best I can. Then Parker says Ty spilled shampoo all over the carpet. He tried to clean it up but it was pretty soapy. I grab the carpet steamer and suck up all the soapy, bubbly goodness that smells like strawberry shampoo. I have 15 minutes to get the kids lunch and get Parker to school. While I'm finishing cleaning, Ty grabs the potato pearls and dumps them in a nice little pile on my carpet. Okay, clean it up and now I have 5 minutes to make lunch! I quickly get them food and take the carpet cleaner over to the BBQ mess. Might as well get it really clean while I have it out. Quickly clean , throw the rest of the kids' lunch in a ziploc baggie, throw the kids in the van and away we go! No time to pout and feel sorry for myself. On the way home, I thought it would be a good idea to check out the accident site. I will have to pass it everyday, twice a day for the rest of my life, probably. So I wanted to see. Not the best idea I've had, but I found Al's pen, so that proves that it was the spot. I also found other things that I will have to burn from my mind. Something about the accident is eating at me. I want to get the accident report. I need to know what their conclusions are about how it happened. Maybe it is just my mind trying to find closure, but I have just been restless all day. Hopefully once I know, I can put it to rest.
One thing we are doing is grief therapy with the kids. We decided to write Alan some good-bye letters and then shred them and dig a hole. We are going to put the letters in the hole and plant a tree in it. That way we will always have something beautiful to help us remember the good things about Alan. I want to plant a weeping willow that will eventually get big and provide us with a nice shady spot to sit under. Is that cheesy? Oh, well. I'm finding I am very sentimental.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Beautiful Funeral

The trip up to Idaho was very windy. There was a strong head wind which slowed us down a little. I was worried about us transporting Al's body by ourselves. But there were no mishaps. It made me think of the movie "Weekend at Bernies". I'm thankful our trip was not that adventurous.....
We stayed in a hotel so that the kids would get some sleep and so that our family could have quiet time if we needed. Teresa and Randy flew in from Wisconsin. It was a lot of fun to have them there. I haven't seen Randy in a long time. I love his sense of humor and laugh. Teresa is also a riot. We were getting the kids ready for a Halloween party out at our old church in View since we missed it here in Parker and Teresa decided to try on her sons outfit. Apprently she found an old cowboy costume in Alan's things that she had stored at her house. It fit her son pefectly so she used it. Rob got a picture and posted it on FB. :0) Against her wishes, I might add. LOL
I felt pretty numb the whole time. I wasn't emotional. I wasn't anything. I was trying to enjoy the time with the family. We took my mom shopping for a new dress and it almost felt normal until I remembered what the dress was for. We had some good talks, though.
Saturday morning, the day of the funeral, I woke up to dark , dreary, cold clouds. It was heavily overcast. On the drive to the View church I prayed that if it was possible that the sun come out for at least the time we were outside for the dedication of the gravesite. I looked for any opening in the clouds wondering if there was sun anywhere. We went inside for the funeral. I was pleasantly surprised to see so many family members that had made the long trip to be there. There were also friends from long ago that came. People from our old ward in View came. Rob's brother and sister and my father-in-law came, as well. That meant a lot to me. It was so good to see everyone.
My mom gave the life sketch and we laughed at some of the things Alan had done. He was one who lived without fear. LOL I was reminded of the time he graduated from HS and after he got his diploma he did a backflip in his robe. That was totally Alan. :0) My dad got up and told us how much he loved Alan. He told some experiences he had with him. He said that he wanted all of his kids with him in the Celestial Kingdom. Even if it meant he had to go to hell to get one of us. He said, "You better believe I'm comin' for you." Emi read her poem and was so nervous but she did it. I sang a song for Alan. At first I was going to sing "Come Thou Fount" but I thought it might be too churchy for Al. The lyrics of this other song kept going over and over in my head and I knew that I had to sing it. It described Alan perfectly. The Lyrics are as follows:

Love Will Find You There
No one left to fool. Every wall you've built is gone.
You don't know what to do to get off the path you're on.
You are questioning the very truths you've believed in all along.
Looking back on how it used to be, you wonder what went wrong.
But deep inside your heart there is a prayer.
Love will find you there.
Living with the pain from the choices you have made.
Knowing how to change, but believing it's too late.
Every path you take convinces you that you don't know who you are.
But a voice inside is telling you, you've never gone too far.
Whispering a promise of a prayer,
Love will find you there.
There's a broken heart that's healing.
There's a life that has been changed.
There are answers to the prayers that you have prayed.
When you're sure your soul can't make it one more day,
love will find you there and light your way.
One who knows your heart and sees what you can't see
has been there from the start and believes in what you'll be.
He will shine a light through every darkest field you'll ever know.
His arms are reaching out to you through the ones that love you so.
He will hear your heart's unspoken prayer that
love will find you there.
Love will find you.

Then my Uncle Mark gave a talk and the kids sang "I am a child of God." The Bishop of that ward spoke a little and gave us peace. He also talked about free agency. Also Teresa and Bob and I got up and told some of our memories. Spring had sent us an email with her memories and I talked Teresa into getting up to read it. She wasn't going to go up at all, but she did and she did great. It was a great funeral as far as funerals go.
We headed outside and I was so happy to see that a part had opened up right above the mountain for the sun to shine through! My prayer had been answered. We went to the cemetary. It was warmer with the sun shining. My husband dedicated the grave site. My mom was handed a United States flag for service rendered in the Army. Everyone came up and hugged my parents. As soon as we were done, the clouds closed up again and it started to rain. Another tender mercy from my loving Heavenly Father.
We went back to the church and had a wonderful lunch prepared for us. We talked with family and friends we hadn't seen for a long time.
Now we are home again. Coming home was a huge dose of reality. Last night I was very sad and cried. Even with everything I know, it still isn't easy. I mourn that he lived such a sad and troubled life. I mourn the time we all lost with him because he distanced himself from the family. I am going to continue to pray for him even though he is on the other side. I pray that he will find the peace and happiness that he couldn't find here.
I need to say "Thank You!" to everyone that has reached out to me, to everyone that has helped take care of my kids and the pets, to everyone that has told me memories of Alan. I am so blessed to know so many amazing people!
BLOGGING is cheap therapy. :0)