From a young age Halloween has been one of my least liked holidays. I didn’t like dressing up. I hate being scared. I get nervous at nights. Dark scares me. Haunted Houses. . .absolutely not for me. Blood, skeletons, spooks, masks - all of that was way too much for me. I could handle the cuteness, but nothing else. I don’t know who’s around, what’s looming around the corner.
I tried. I tried to like it. Even in college I agreed to go with a group of friends to the State Mental Haunted House. That didn’t go well. I was scared to death! AND THEN, one of the scarers came at me with a needle and blood was dripping from it and I passed out. I had to be carried out of the haunted house and that’s the last time I went to a haunted house.
I found more joy in Halloween, when with my parents, neighbors and a lot of my family got involved with doing Nightmare Express Train rides at my parents on my dad’s train. My boys absolutely LOVED being scarers and being a part of this activity each year as 10,000 people would come and ride the trains. I could handle this because there wasn’t blood, no gore and we were making some great memories together with family. It made me super sad when the kids would come out crying, but we worked at making it fun for them too.
That ended and I thought alright we’ll take the boys and go trick or treating and Tanner was like what is this, why would we dress up and knock on people’s doors and ask for candy. Where we’ve found joy in the holiday is being with friends and family and doing different “other” traditions - like our family halloween picture, carving pumpkins and potluck halloween foods.
This year we are at a baseball tournament for the weekend. We won’t be home for any of the Halloween festivities. Tanner wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, but baseball. He doesn’t enjoy dressing up either and baseball is all he needs.
Friday as we drove to the field I saw junior high students getting out of school and all dressed up in different costumes. Then scrolling instagram and facebook I saw lots of pictures of costumes from littles to adults. They were fun to look at. I do love people’s creativity and honestly I admire people who can dress up and have fun with all of it.
As I was at the ball field I was visiting with a mom that was trying to decide what to do with her kids. Should she go to the store and get some costumes and let them trick or treat out of town, trick or treat on Sunday at home, etc. Her kids were talking about different costumes and what they would want to dress up as.
As I pondered this I thought to myself, what would I dress up as. If I had to dress up in a costume for any reason, what would I choose? The only thought I had was, “You’ve always hidden behind a mask. You have always dressed up.”
I hadn’t really thought about that before. Yes, until 2 years ago I did hide behind a mask. In fact; many different masks.
Not only did I dress up in certain types of clothing, but I’ve always had a rule I couldn’t leave my room until I had makeup on and my hair done. I had to look the part. Through my teenage years and into college I didn’t own levi’s or tennis shoes. I owned nicer clothing, heels, nails done and was all put together. When Rick and I got married for our first Christmas he gave me tennis shoes. I didn’t know what to do with them. I was also super worried about my weight so I watched what I ate and if I felt I was gaining too much I could easily throw up the food. Appearance was something I could control.
Then along came 4 boys and life and I started getting more and more casual in my clothing. I wanted nice clothing and tried, but it was difficult to take care of 4 boys, be at the ballfields and keep things clean and nice. I did a pretty good job and for sure I would never be seen in a t-shirt. That was forbidden. I didn’t really even own any t-shirts.
Then my health starts to take a toll and here comes weight gain that is out of my control. Then the health and weight takes a toll on my body and here comes pain. It becomes a very vicious cycle. And now, every time I look at myself all I see is a fat person. A person that can’t hide behind the mask of looking all put together anymore. I try to purchase cute clothes, take care of my make up and my hair, but the weight has become a part of my ugliness. It’s something that hurts me everyday. That comes to mind as something that might hold people back from wanting to be my friend, me posting pictures of myself and thinking I feel I ruin the pictures. For so many years I had that mask mastered.
Some of the other masks that I hid behind for over 40 years were:
I could do it all
We have it all together
I could be in 50 places all at once and pull it all off perfectly
Always had a solutions
Could fix anything
And the list goes on. . .
I had lots of masks and to be truthful no one, not even my husband, knew the real me. To be honest I didn’t know myself so there was no way anyone else could know me. I was sooooo busy volunteering and putting myself out there and solving problems and making a difference and being in the public eye and the community I wouldn’t and couldn’t stop for even a second to really take a deeper look at Who I Am.
I didn’t want to face the truth. I couldn’t. I hadn’t told anyone. No one. There were very deep dark secrets that I thought if anyone found out about me there was no way anyone could love me. I hadn’t loved myself - EVER! I would be judged. If I ran and worked and served harder, better, more I would finally feel love and love myself and all of the past could be erased. It would go away. I could go to my grave keeping all of these things to myself. Isn’t this how it works? It’s the safest, happier way to go. I wanted so badly to just be enough. Tasks would eventually = enough. I couldn’t cry. I couldn’t hurt. I couldn’t face the pain.
THEN, things happened. I had to slow down. My health became so bad I could lose my life. Stress had to go. Life was unraveling. I had to resign from positions - how embarrassing. I failed. I let so many people down. Some were no longer my “friends.” Then came more. Son getting married. Son leaving on a mission. Son getting sick. Coming home 3 months later. Being judged. Treated poorly. Mom protective bear came out. I lost it. I had a nervous breakdown. I had nothing left. There was nothing left to me. NOTHING! I just cried. And cried. Cried and cried and cried - there was no telling when the tears would stop.
That’s when life changed. . .time for counseling. Reality was setting in. Nightmares were hitting me hardcore. Memories flooding. Couldn’t sleep. Terrified. It was like living in a haunted house - my own cobwebs and scarers from my life. Apparently the locks on the abuse were coming undone. The hundreds of locks I thought I could keep tight on there forever.
Behind all of those masks who I really was:
Abandonment issues super deep
No one would ever stay in my life
I couldn’t be loved
I didn’t deserve anyone good
Being alone was the only safe place
I would never be enough
Not even Heavenly Father and my Savior could possibly love me - I had to prove myself
I had to earn love and I couldn’t do enough to earn that love
I was terrified of being touched
Touch was evil
I had sinned for years through my childhood and teenage years because of the abuse
Carried so much guilt - it was my fault
And the list goes on. . .
Over the last 2 years of counseling, PTSD, anxiety and antidepressant medications, the masks have come off. The layers and layers of masks. I didn’t need Halloween to put on a costume. I didn’t need Halloween to be scared. I didn’t need Halloween to show me all of the skeletons hanging in my closet. I live with the fears and costumes that Halloween brings everyday of my life.
I’m rewiring my brain. I’m learning. I’m being retaught. Changing over 40 years of belief about myself. My old life is a habit. It’s an addiction. It’s what I know. It’s what I’m familiar with. I’m fighting it! I’m giving it all I’ve got to be me! To be true to me! I make mistakes. I lose people in my life now because of my mistakes. My heart has learned to love. Now my heart loves deeply - too much now at times, because I’ve now felt a broken heart in many more ways than I could have ever imagined. At times I miss the old me. I miss all of the masks. There’s something comfortable about that space. But I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t true to myself. I couldn’t feel love. A caged heart isn’t selective. Now I understand the love my husband has for me. Now I understand loving him much more. I love my boys in a whole different way. I’m loving myself for the first time.
I’ll keep working on removing the fake masks. I’ll keep moving forward and being me. I’ll keep praying that I can be enough and that those I love will love me. That my mistakes won’t “scare” those who matter most to me away
This morning around 5 am I woke up and could feel my heart beating really fast. I couldn’t calm down the feeling of anxiety. I quietly said, “Rick, could you get the oximeter for me? My heart is racing.” It was in our headboard more on his side. He woke up and kindly said yes and got it and put it on my finger and yes, my heart rate was high. We both wanted to go back to sleep. My heart was still racing so I reached out and just had my hand on his arm. Then he reached and held my hand and he fell back to sleep and I fell back to sleep shortly after.
As I laid there thinking about life and taking deep breaths and trying to calm down I found myself thinking about what just happened. It was monumental - 25 years in the making or even longer.
I pondered different situations in my life:
I’ve always disliked touch. Due to the sexual abuse starting at a very young age and then additional sexual abusers over 13 years until my mission touch became a very obligatory, abusive, negative, bad thing for me
The loss of my dad. Growing up we weren’t a very touchy, hugging family. I’m not sure when things changed, but I remember hugging my dad as I left for my mission, getting married and over the years hugs became more common as we would leave their home. The last time I hugged my dad and he said, “I love you sweetheart” and I felt it so deep. I won’t ever forget how deeply I felt of his love and grateful for that hug and value of touch.
Over the years I’ve been extremely task oriented. I wasn’t really sentimental and for sure didn’t have time to just sit and enjoy time together. If I did sit down, sit next to Rick or with the boys to watch a movie or something I had my computer out and was working and doing other things and “watching” the movie or “not really engaged” in whatever we were doing. There weren’t real feelings tied to the moment.
I’ve always struggled to feel enough or loved in my home. I was constantly trying to be more, do more, buy love, why can’t what I do be enough and beating myself up with guilt. I found much more comfort outside of my home. I would turn outside of my home for closer friendships, comfort and understanding. The reality is I didn’t really open up to anyone. I kept my cards close and didn’t let anyone past the surface, the safe parts of me. The big thing was the pattern of turning outside of my home for the deeper, closer friendships.
As I started counseling 2 years ago there was a lot happening in our home. I found myself keeping with the same patterns of turning outside of my home for the greater support. As a whole family we had lots of healing to go through so we all were in tougher spaces. I believe greatly that Heavenly Father knew who I needed and I was blessed with very dear friends that I would have never imagined in my life if I hand picked them myself. They were in my life at the right times, in the way that I needed them most, but over time things changed and the closeness and need for as much communication wasn’t needed. That shift was super hard for me. In a way it was excruciating. I had opened up my heart. Trusted. Felt I needed them. How could they be taken away? Would anyone really stay in my life? Could people really love me and stay? My abandonment filter has been very strong and heavy through the changes. I’m grateful to be in a healthier place with one of those dear friends. One of those friendships is in the loss phase right now and it super painful. I honestly never thought this friendship would go south and be as bad as it’s been. I’ve been going through this loss the same time as losing my dad. My heart aches. Gratefully the healthiest relationships have stayed in my life, but with my abandonment issues sometimes I get destructive and think just go, everyone go, because you will at some point.
Yesterday was one of the worst blow ups I’ve had with one of my sons ever. There were some hurtful things said between both of us and I couldn’t hold back my feelings and how hurt I was and I told him to get the hell out of my house. I’ve never said that before to my boys. I’m very grateful that by last night things were worked through and the feelings of love were back. The reality is with our children the feelings of love and growth and frustration and not doing things quite right are often there. In the long run, it’s unconditional love, but often there are feelings of conditional love.
As I laid there in bed, holding hands with Rick, calming down my heart and wanting to fall back asleep and pondered this simple touch and all of these different experiences in my life I thought I am blessed with the most amazing, loving husband who has loved me unconditionally for 25 years. He’s always been there for me. He’s never judgemental. As he’s learned so much more about my past over the last couple of years there’s never been feelings of anger towards me. He’s just shown more love. As I got in more of an overwhelmed, struggling state through counseling he took over all of my medications. He knows everything we need to know about the medications. Last week when I accidentally overdosed - took the wrong medications - I was able to call him and he immediately called the pharmacy and all day took care of me as I worked through the medications going through my system. When I’m crying he’s always respected me asking for space. Now as I’m healing he reaches in and will strive to give me comfort, but plays it by ear. If I want to get out of the house or need connections with my outside friends he lets me go. He’s been willing to do his own counseling and work on things so that we’re both progressing together. At nights when I’ve been in my child mode and for sure didn’t want comfort within my home and turned to others he was patient and loving and let me do my thing. Today we laughed so hard together we cried. We play games with the boys and have so much fun. Going for a drive or running an errand together we just enjoy the time together - no expectations. The list goes on and on and on. . .
What I realized this morning as I turned to him and reached out for him and he reached for my hand and I calmed down is I’ve always been loved by him. He’s always been there for me. He’s my safe space. He would never hurt me. He only wants the very best for me. I can share everything with him and he won’t judge me, he’ll only love me more. He protects me. He’s got me. After 25 years I realized I don’t need approval or love or have to wonder who is there for me outside of my home. My value isn’t based on any of these past experiences, but my value lies within myself and Rick’s got me and I don’t have to be afraid of abandonment. Touch is safe with him. I am loved and enough for myself and for him!
Last year we were out of town on your birthday, but I wanted to make sure we called and wished you a Happy Birthday. We all loved talking to you through Messenger and being able to see you and wish you a Happy Birthday.
The other day a memory popped up from the 2nd Sunday 6 years ago singing to you and mom Happy Birthday. You and mom looked so happy. One of my most favorite things each and every year was seeing you and mom celebrate your birthdays together since they were just a few days apart. In my post I said that I was so grateful for the miracle we got 4 years earlier to have you back with us from your Cardiac Arrest and that I cherished each day we had you.
Covid - when it shut down our world in March of 2020 it was hard, it was something that was a concern, but thought if we are careful we’ll be good. You weren’t worried about it. You knew things needed to be done at the Bishop’s Storehouse to be safe, but things would be good. You had faith that everything would work out. We missed out on being together as a family a lot this last year. We didn’t get Easter, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the list goes on. We found a way though - we still found a way to connect as a family. We also took advantage of different opportunities to gather outside so that we could all be together.
Being together was so important to you. You built our home to be that way. For Christmas each year even as a child and teenager you purchased things for our home that would bring people to our home. Our home was a safe place for so many people over the years. Your door was always open - just walk on in. Borrow my stuff and no, there’s no charge. The Lord blessed me with all of these things so I will share to bless others lives.
Your yard. Your pride and joy. You create an amazing yard that people would come to for any reason. The pool. Brought so much peace and fun for everyone that used it. It was a beautiful background for receptions, ward parties, reunions and the list goes on. So often we’d find you sitting out by the pool listening to the running water - a feeling of such peace. You’d take your book out there and sit and read.
Your trains. Our vision of your vision was very small compared to what you brought to all of our lives and the community. Over 100,000 people came to your yard for train rides for Nightmare Express and Polar Express. The stories and experiences from what you provided for so many could be shared forever. Not only did you bless the lives of those who came to enjoy the train rides, but more so our lives that volunteered.
Family time. Vacations. Making memories together as a family. You worked so hard to provide so many opportunities for your children. That was a highlight for all of us. You were able to relax and we were able to have fun with you and mom and all of us as a family. We never went a summer without some kind of vacation. We knew we could look forward to Lagoon and a family vacation. It wasn’t where we went, but the traveling memories of singing, treats, activities and time together.
Dad, you had many hard times in your life. You had close friends betray you. You loved unconditionally even when those around you didn’t love unconditionally. You had childhood experiences that brought about parents in different homes. Went through divorce. You and your dad became business partners in the 70’s and together you did so many great things. Provided work for so many. Subcontractors that were so grateful for the work you provided them. You and your dad helped so many missionaries, even when money was super tight. You did all you could to take care of so many.
You went about life with a smile. You went about looking for opportunities to serve the Lord and to serve everyone and anyone around you. You wanted everyone to know that the Lord loved them. You loved serving at the storehouse and your hand prints and life are in every aspect of the storehouse. The temple was a very special place for you. You loved speaking Spanish and helping those around you that might not understand English. Oftentimes we couldn’t find you because you were out doing good - serving someone.
Every Friday you made it a point to go outside and see the guy picking up your garbage. You took him out a treat and a drink and became a dear friend of his. Now your oldest son has been continuing that tradition and is loving it. There’s so much we do, because of what you taught us and your example.
Dad, we miss you something fierce. We shouldn’t be celebrating your 72nd birthday without you here. That wasn’t on the calendar, it wasn’t on the agenda, it wasn’t on any of our minds that this would be how it is. I’m so glad that for your 70th we held a party. We invited so many of your friends and family and it was such a fun, memorable evening.
All of your children, in laws (or as you liked to call them out laws), grandchildren, your wife - all of us miss you so much! Dad, I hope you know how much we love you. You might not have really understood that completely when you were here on Earth, but I hope you know now. You’re missed by so many.
So often we hear people sharing experiences or thoughts that yep, that was Mike. He was in the details of that or I saw his hand in my life in this way or that way. I know you’re here with us, but just not how I would want it or have wished for it to be. I long for that one more hug or that one more time of you telling me “I love you sweetheart” and you walking out the back door and waving to us as we drive away.
You loved to challenge me. You loved asking hard questions, well deep questions. I didn’t like them most of the time. I found myself always saying that if I can’t get to heaven on basic principles then I won’t get to heaven. Then you would find others that would answer your deep questions, but I would listen. I would take in pieces of your conversations and I learned so much from you. Even with the hard or tricky questions I wish so much that I would have taken the time to soak up so much more from you. Sometimes we don’t appreciate what we have right in front of us until the opportunities are gone. I’d give anything to have one more of those conversations with you and I’d change my interactions with those conversations. You had so much to share and teach all of us.
One of the last questions you asked me was who is the only person in all of our family pictures. I looked at you weird and then thought about it and I really knew what the answer was and that was me. You and mom were a couple and me being the oldest I was your first child that made you a dad and mom a mom and made us a family. You were so proud of that - you were so proud of me being your oldest.
Also one of our last conversations you shared with me that you loved having me in the office, because you knew you would be taken care of by me. That I would make sure you were fed and help you and take care of what you needed. I’m so grateful we had that conversation before you died. I needed to know that you were proud of me and loved working with me.
The last hug, the last I love you sweetheart, I felt it the very most. There was something special and I knew it without any doubt. I hope you know how much I love you dad. I hope I showed you throughout my whole life. Even through our differences and struggles and different choices I hope you know that I loved you.
There’s so much I want to say to you dad. I wish we could have had that one last conversation with you awake. It’s been almost 3 months since I last saw you in person awake, living a normal life. The next time I saw you was when you were unconscious on your last couple of days before you passed away. That breaks my heart.
Well Dad, it’s your 72nd Birthday and I miss you terribly! Why can’t you be here with us? Why did you have to go? Why did Covid have to take you? Why did your body have to give up? Why was it your time?
Well, we might not ever know the why’s, but what I do know is that we will celebrate your life. We’ll celebrate all you’ve taught us. The boys have so many fond, special memories with you. They know of your love. We all know of your love for each and everyone of us. We all felt special and loved by you. We all have been greatly blessed by the life you lived. By your example. We won’t ever forget. Thank you dad! Thank you for living the life that you did. Thank you for providing us with life experiences and teaching us how to live a Christlike life. Someday I won’t ask the why’s. I’ve found more peace day by day, but the tears do come. They still come often. I know you’re there comforting me. Just in a very different way than I could have ever imagined.
I love you dad! We’ll celebrate here and will live like you and I hope you get to celebrate there! Happy Birthday in Heaven Dad!
For most of my life I’ve been busy, busy, busy, busy - doing good things, but loved being busy. I would feel happiness, stress, sad, excitement - all of the emotions, at least I thought. I would realize I was sad about something, but I didn’t have time to cry and if I did take the time to cry it would be for a few minutes and then it was alright time to move on and think why did I need to cry about that. I would accomplish big events or tasks and think yes, that turned out great, but the level of my excitement was I’m glad that turned out well, make the notes and move onto the next project. I didn’t have time to sit back and relax and enjoy the success for a few minutes. I had a high level of perfection inside of me.
My health has always been a huge battle for me. When I was diagnosed with diabetes I had a fasting glucose number of 498. My A1C was 11.9. My triglycerides, cholesterol, blood pressure, etc were sky high. I was a walking time bomb to my death. I would blank out driving and not even know how to get to my parents or the school after driving that millions of times. I couldn’t remember my own boys’ names often.
I’ve worked closely with my doctor for years and years and there hasn’t been a lot that has really helped my health. Then a few years ago I resigned, walked away from a lot of stress in my life and the next time I went in for blood work it was improving, not great, but improving. There was definitely a consistency in high numbers when I was stressed and when I wasn’t as stressed, like over the summer, there was improvement, but not all that we wanted.
Then a couple of years ago when I started counseling I went in for blood work and everything had improved immensely. My doctor was stunned and wanted to know what had happened - what had changed? I shared with him I was in counseling and working through a lot of emotional things that I had carried for years and years. That seemed to be doing the trick. This was the magic potion that had been needed for years for my health.
Yes, the counseling was working, but my health also had a lot of things going on so I had gotten to taking 13 medications daily. They were working, but I could hardly keep track of what I was on and when to take things. It was overwhelming.
This last year I’ve continued to improve with my health and was getting really excited at the progress of my health. I had dropped to 8 medications a day and I had set goals of having my health really good by the time I was 50. I knew I could accomplish great things! I’ve been working with fantastic doctors and things were looking super promising and then MY DAD DIED!!!! WHAT???? How could this happen? The amount of emotional stress and emotions that were being felt in my body were extreme. I felt sick, my stomach was a mess, I wasn’t sleeping, massive headaches, tears every day, the amount of body aches were like I had never done anything to take care of myself and the list went on. On top of the tears every day, I was angry, sad, completely lost and the amount of emotions and shut down emotionally I felt were very significant. I didn’t want to interact with people.
With how awful I was feeling I called my doctors office and scheduled a doctor’s appointment. It was also time for blood work and I agreed, but thought the results are going to be AWFUL!!! I felt it and my body had so much stress! Plus I hadn’t been eating very well - whether eating at all or sweets or whatever - I wasn’t thinking about what I was eating.
Last Thursday I went in for my doctor’s appointment and I felt super anxious. I just didn’t want to hear how awful I was doing after working so hard for the last couple of years. First came the blood pressure and it was PERFECT! Then came the heart rate and though it had been super high for the last month, it was under 100, which was a huge win! Then into the doctor’s office for the blood results. He pulls up the numbers and he says, “HIGH FIVE!!! You’re doing great. Your thyroid is in the perfect range. Your A1C is in pre-diabetic range and he continued to go through all of my blood work and it all looked really good. Still a couple of areas of concern, but nothing of great concern like in the past.” I was shocked!!! The most stressful, emotional time in my life ever and my numbers were some of the best they’ve been and not taking as many medications I had taken in the past year. How could that happen???
I’ve allowed myself to FEEL and PROCESS! I’ve allowed myself to feel all of the feelings. I haven’t said I’ve got 5 minutes to cry and then shut down. If I felt to cry, I cried until the tears ran out. If I felt angry I allowed myself to be angry. When people have asked how I’m doing I’ve been honest - it’s been hell, it’s been super hard, I’m worn out, I miss my dad terribly, I’ve had some great spiritual experiences and the list goes on. I’ve not kept anything tied up inside, undone and not processed. I’m not willing to do that again - I did that for the last 40 years and it was at a high price.
"I’ve allowed myself to FEEL and PROCESS! I’ve allowed myself to feel all of the feelings"
The interesting thing is people have thanked me for my honesty. I’ve had people say they were grateful for sharing my real feelings and it’s allowed them to look at their life experiences and face their real feelings. They’ve been grateful to recognize they weren’t alone in their struggles and the feelings they’ve felt.
For most of my life I thought keeping all of these emotions and life challenges and experiences pinned up inside was the best option - no damage done. When I left my doctor’s office the thought I’ve had over and over is “EMOTIONS WIN!!! So often we don’t realize the correlation of our health and emotions - if we don’t release and process our emotions they have to go somewhere in our body - where are they going for you? Mine were causing all kinds of health problems, but now, I’m winning - I’m letting go and processing and there’s no more damage. Our health is worth allowing ourselves to be honest with our emotions!
Last week before school starts Disneyland trip for Tanner, my brother and his son
Last week before school starts Perry’s are in town and we’re partying it up
Last week before school starts dad, mom and sister have Covid
Wednesday before school starts my dad goes back to the hospital
Friday before school starts my family, Perry’s and friends at the high school help me feed 200 faculty at the high school
Friday night dad is in the hospital and being his normal grumpy patient wanting to come home
Saturday morning Perry’s go out looking for places to buy in Utah
Saturday morning we are watching Oliver and loving having our grandson for the day
Saturday morning watching a dear friends funeral who lived a great life
Saturday Zach is off with a group of friends for the day doing activities, because many of them are heading off to college the next week
Saturday morning a message comes on the family thread that we need to gather at my parent’s home at noon to make some decisions. . .and what is it that we are going to be discussing???
Saturday close to noon Brayden and Sarah come home and watch Oliver so Rick and I can gather at my parent’s home
Saturday at noon we gather as siblings outside my parent’s home wearing masks and keeping distance from my mom, because she’s got covid
My mom looks super pale, has oxygen on and honestly didn’t look like she was really there - looking off in the distance
Sitting on the table was a binder I knew all too well. . .my dad’s living will - we had to read this once before 10 years earlier
My sister was in the hospital, another sister and her family in San Francisco, a brother and his son and Tanner in California and another sister joining via phone call or zoom
My sister who has been staying with my mom and been the spokesperson with the doctors for my dad starts to talk. . .starts to cry
Dad has lost consciousness
We’ve got to make some really hard decisions
The reality is we might lose dad
We discuss, we pray, priesthood blessings and in 25 minutes we all come to a consensus that we’ll have dad intubated
That’s our best hope - we’ve got to fight - dad will fight - we believe in miracles
We decide to fast as a family and will break the fast as a family the next day
We cry together, we’re in shock, is this really happening???
Time to go home. . .time for me to tell my boys what’s going on
Brayden and Sarah are at home. . .we tell them and we are all in shock and cry together
Brayden says what our engagement, what about our wedding. . .grandpa is so excited for their wedding!
Tanner’s with Scott in California. . .I message him and ask him how he’s doing and when are they heading home. It’s time for them to come home.
Michael. . .I call him and he’s not with Alex, but I let him know and he shares that things will be alright - we have the Plan of Salvation and Eternal Families - didn’t calm us, didn’t ease the fear and sadness
Zach. . .he’s with friends and having a fun day. Do I want to ruin it for him? But he should know. We finally call him later afternoon and share with him and he cries and thanks us for telling him and he’s with friends he can cry and get comfort from.
That afternoon Rick and I decide to take Oliver to the temple grounds, see grandpa’s train and get some pizza. Getting out and finding a little peace and hope in miracles.
Sunday morning the Perry’s head home to Washington
Sunday we go to church, Tanner gets home and we got to my parent’s to break the fast
We’re going to hold onto hope and miracles - we know this can happen
Monday Rick starts his new job
Tuesday Tanner starts school
Throughout the week we’re getting updates. . .some not good, some hopeful, massive roller coaster
Thursday the dreaded call comes. . .the doctors don’t believe he’s going to make it and everyone can have a few minutes with him alone to say their goodbyes, have personal time
NOOOOO. . .this just can’t be happening
Thursday afternoon we gather at the hospital as a family at our scheduled time
Rick goes in first. . .put on the gown, gloves, mask and he goes in and sees my dad
Gratefully he warns us that there are some things that surprised him, were hard to see
Then the boys go in one at a time
Brayden and Sarah are able to go in together due to her surgery and Brayden pushes her in a wheelchair
Then its my turn. . .I go in. . .I talk to him. . .he’s not conscious, he’s not been conscious since the previous Friday
There’s spirits in the room, I can feel them
I feel I can communicate with my dad through my thoughts
I tell the spirits to go away and leave my dad here. . .I’ll have a tug of war. . .I need my dad here
I feel there’s just a little bit of hope, come on dad, fight, stay, please, I want you here, we all want you here
First week of school for Tanner - terrible week to start school and Tanner’s missed classes and definitely not focused on starting school
Friday my brother and mom spend lots of time at the hospital talking to doctors, assessing situation. . .it’s not good
Saturday the ward and family gather at my parent’s to clean up the yard - its AMAZING!!!!
Many tears and laughter all together and we can feel my dad’s spirit supervising - we know he’s happy
Saturday afternoon a time is scheduled to take my dad off of life support on Sunday
Sunday we gather for breakfast, family prayer, time to head to the hospital to really say goodbye to my dad, time for life support to be turned off
Sunday in my dad’s room we are blessed with his doctor there that’s the hospice doctor for the weekend
There’s a spirit there - priesthood blessing, singing primary songs and hymns, lots of love, lots of tears and he goes peacefully
He’s gone. . .not the miracle we hoped for, but there were miracles, many miracles
Sunday dinner as a family and time to plan the funeral
We’re bringing dad home one more time - having his viewing and funeral in his yard
He gets one more train ride, not a dry eye
Tanner. . .school? What’s that? How can he focus on school? He’s lost his grandpa that he spent so many hours a week with. . .discussed science and math with grandpa all of the time
Friday, August 27th we have the funeral. Honestly no thought of school.
Next week celebrate my parent’s 50th Anniversary - AMAZING and such awesome memories
Tanner is struggling, we’re all struggling
We all cry every day
Tanner goes to school, but only going through the motions and can’t think about school
He’s never been behind in school - straight A student
Now he’s mourning, straight F’s, behind in school and trying to figure out how to catch up, get back to life
Reach out to teachers
Tanner does a little bit here and there
Some teachers super understanding
Some grades start to come up slowly
Meet with his counselor, doctor, adjust medications, his stomach hurts alot
Maybe this is going to be the first time he doesn’t make honor roll
But he’s in highschool - these grades count for everything - his future goals - college scholarships - all he’s worked for over the last 2 years
Decisions to be made
Wish the grades didn’t matter - wish emotional needs could be most important right now
Down to the last 3 weeks of the term - still many F’s
Give some incentives - favorite food if he gets so many assignments done
Baseball field time with dad in the downpouring rain if he gets more assignments done
Teachers understanding and working with him - not penalizing for late work
We make it fun - sit around the table and laugh and work together to help him finish his school work
Wednesday, October 13th last day of the Term
End of the Term - a term that means more than just school term, going to school, doing schoolwork and learning in school
It’s the end of a Term - a term that won’t ever be forgotten
Term of loss, massive loss, broken heart, healing, tears, miracles, friendships, supportive teachers, proving we can all do really hard things. . .and we can come out WINNING
Tanner showed us how this works. . .All A’s except one A- and B+ and once again he made Honor Roll!
A wife and mother of 4 boys and 2 daughter-in-law, I have spent my entire adult life devoted to my family. I have been busy in their schools, supporting them in all of their school work, sporting events, activities, etc. I spent years heavily involved in the PTA, church callings, etc Life for me has always been overwhelmingly busy. While I thought this was my sanity, the truth is it masked issues - real issues - that I needed to work on to gain true sanity. I am sharing my story in this blog. I do this so that I might be able to help other women find their true sanity