Feed your FAITH and your fears will starve .

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

10 Weeks and Counting...

While Trent was battling cancer we always had something to look forward to.  Yes, it was mostly the next scan...but nonetheless, it was something to look forward to and we knew when it would take place.   Lately I have had a hard time with having something to look forward to.  Of course I look forward to the Second Coming with great anticipation but "no man knoweth the day nor the hour" so it is a little tricky judging my progression toward that one.  All I know is that each day I am one day closer.  It is hard to "look forward" to regular life things because not one of them will include Trent and that is so lonely and empty.

I find myself in a tough spot; needing to have something, but not wanting anything.  My friend, who shall remain nameless in case our friendship doesn't outlive her current endeavor,  has encouraged me to piece together a quilt.  I am certainly not a stranger to a sewing machine but quilting has never appealed to me-at all.  We'll see how this goes.  At the very least it will keep me busy for a little while.

Last week was another roller coaster of emotions but I did better at keeping myself busy and I think that helped temper some of the toughest times.  I started indexing names on the church website and every time I found myself with a little too much time to think, I would run in and do a few batches.  I think indexing is going to be my lifesaver for at least a little while.

Lately I have been contacted by or have contacted many people in similar situations as myself.  Sometimes what they have to say is tremendously helpful, sometimes not so much.  I have learned to be a little choosy about who I talk to because while I know everyone has good intentions, I am just vulnerable enough to fall apart at the wrong words.  I do believe that Heavenly Father has repeatedly put me in contact with many people who have a least a little something to offer to help me navigate the ugliest road I have ever faced.  I know He is still mindful of me and His tender mercies are becoming more and more apparent.

Sunday night was a tough one for me and I kind of had a melt down.  I snapped at Jarom and made him feel badly.  I sent the kids to bed and as I walked past Jarom's room he called out to me in the dark.  He tried to make it better but I couldn't even go in and talk to him.   Not my finest parenting moment.  Instead I kicked Zach out of my room, closed the door and sobbed.  

It is a difficult thing to manage my own grief and keep tabs on all five kids and their emotions too.  At first I asked them on a regular basis if there was anything they needed to talk about or if they were doing okay.  I started getting the feeling that it was too much so I backed off.  Yesterday morning I was rushing around getting everyone ready for school and getting myself ready to go on a field trip with Jarom's class.  I was racing upstairs and stumbled on Zach, sitting in Trent's chair, wrapped in Trent's blanket, hyperventilating because he was crying so hard.  I sat down with him and tried to comfort him and keep myself from falling apart.  He said he had dreamed about Trent.  It was a good dream, except that it was "cancer dad".  Apparently that was too much for Zach that day.  I had to leave Zach so I could be with Jarom.  That was tough too.  Then last night after family prayer Mallory had a meltdown.  She told me she thinks about Daddy a lot and remembers when he was a playful dad.  The hard part is she also thinks a lot about seeing him in his casket.  I pulled her into my lap and told her that if Dad was there right then he would wrap his arms around her and say, "Oh Mal Mal! I love you girl!".  I told her that it is was more fun to think about playful Dad and we should try not to think about the hard memories so much.  It breaks my heart to see my kids hurting and it makes me mad all over again that they have been asked to live this life.  However, as I was doing laundry this morning I was thinking about all the other hard things we have endured not only during cancer but our whole lives.  Somehow those things have turned out good and I can clearly see the blessings that have come from those difficult times.  I have to remind myself that Heavenly Father doesn't make mistakes and that if He could make it good before, He can make it good again.  I just don't see it right now.  Someday soon I will...I hope.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Two Months Closer

Sunday was our two month milestone.  Today is also nine weeks.  Wow.  I never thought I could possibly survive this long.  It has been the hardest, longest two months of my life.  Sunday was a very difficult day for me.  However, I am beginning to have more good moments-not days yet, but moments.  We celebrated our two month milestone by making carrot cake cupcakes, Trent's favorite.  Sadly, I used a new recipe and it was a total flop.  Oh well, what matters is that we were happy doing it and we are trying hard to look on the positive side of things.

After we had our crappy carrot cake I was getting kids ready for bed and came upon Zach in my room frantically looking through the video camera for any videos of Trent.  He was bawling and that set me off right away.  I pulled up the computer and Zach and I spent the next hour watching videos of Trent and crying like babies.  Jarom tried to join us for a minute but I think he doesn't quite know what to do with his emotions and he bailed out.  That was a heartbreaking night.  It is easier for me to feel sad and cry than for me to watch my kids do it too.  Some of the last videos we watched were when Trent was launching rockets with the kids in the summer of 2011.  He was having a hard time getting around but was really trying to enjoy himself.  We had to remind ourselves that Trent didn't want to live life like a cripple, always in pain, never being able to fully enjoy himself and we didn't want him to live like that either.  So in order for him not to suffer physically, we will now suffer his absence until we meet again.

Last week was Fall Break.  We had five whole days to do whatever we wanted.  I was a little nervous about taking the kids on our first "vacation" without Trent but I knew he would never waste five whole days off of school.  We decided a close-to-home, easy trip was best for now.  Wednesday I let the kids just hang out at home and play with friends.  Thursday we loaded up the burb and went to Hogle Zoo.  It was pretty much a major disappointment.  We had a fun time but the zoo is really not great.  By far our favorite zoo is still the Omaha Zoo.  Zach was actually getting depressed seeing all the animals in their lousy habitats.

Mallory, Jonny, Jarom, Zach, and Megan at Hogle Zoo
After the zoo we went to Wingers.  We have been there several times as a family to celebrate the end of school and such.  I thought it would be harder than it was to go places that we used to go with Trent.  I am pretty sure he was having a great time watching us and being happy that we were making an effort to make more family memories.

We then went down to my brother's orthodontic office in Orem to get the little nubs off my teeth from Invisalign and get braces for Megan.  She was less than thrilled about becoming a brace face but it will only be about a year until her smile is perfect.  When we left we stopped at Harmon's for snacks and of course Jonathan talked me into more snacks that Trent loved.  He is getting pretty good at that.  All he has to say is, "My Dad loves..." and I usually buy it.  What a sucker I am.  I guess I am just happy that Jonathan has some memory of his daddy and he is always right about what snacks he loves.

When I booked the hotel there was no vacancies in the hotels we normally stay in so we ended up at a different chain.  I was horrified when I actually saw it.  Trent always made sure we stayed in really nice places-no matter what the cost.  I tried to laugh it off but was really a little grossed out all weekend.  Lesson learned, book early.  We had a fun time swimming and then played some card games in our room.  It was actually a really good day.

We got up Friday and went to Cornbelly's at Thanksgiving Point.  There was a ton of stuff for everyone to do and the weather was perfect.  I noticed that there was a ton of moms there with their kids and not as many dads so it made me feel a little bit better about "blending in with the crowd".

We took this picture right before we all climbed about three stories up for a ZIP line.  We even made Jonathan go.  When he got to the top he wasn't happy about riding down but I told the attendant to push him off anyway then I jumped.  Jonathan screamed all the way down and continued to cuss us all out when he got to the bottom.  He was mad!  We were all laughing as he was telling us, "I never want to do that again!"
Getting harnessed for the ZIP line!
We played all day until we were exhausted then went to eat at Chili's. Jonathan was so tired he slept through the entire meal and all the way back to the hotel.

 While we were eating I started getting glum.  I was missing Trent really badly because we had just had a wonderful day that he would have been giddy about and he was not there to enjoy it with us.  I was losing my pep fast and there was no saving it.  When we got back to the hotel I bawled and bawled and bawled.  Jarom wanted to swim again but I couldn't do it.  I was spent.  I buried myself in a book by Neal A. Maxwell and let the kids make forts and watch TV all evening.  That was a rough night.

Museum of Ancient Life
Saturday we went to the Dinosaur museum and had fun digging for bones and playing all their Halloween games.  On the way home we stopped at Chuck-A-Rama and I think the kids were all in heaven.  They stuffed themselves and loved every bite.  I am pretty sure it is Jarom's new favorite place to eat.  

We had a fun weekend but it would have been so much better with Trent.  I can't wait for the day when I can say our whole family is together again.  We are trying to live life and do the things that will make good memories but it is hard when such a major part of us is not here.  As time passes the only consolation I feel is that we are that much closer to being reunited.  We are preparing everyday and praying for the Second Coming of Christ to be soon.  In the meantime, I have got to find a better carrot cake recipe!

Monday, October 15, 2012


I am sure I will never understand the grief process.  The emptiness, the ups and downs, and the triggers are killing me.  Just when I think I might be doing a little better, I begin the weeping all over again.  This morning was especially difficult.  The tears just kept coming.  I took Jonny and Scout on our walk and bawled the entire time.  I am really missing Trent and it is hard to find purpose in my life without him.  I know I have five kids who need me but they need their dad too.

Last night I was crying and Zach was in my room.  I asked him for about the millionth time how I was going to be able to do this.  How am I going to be able to handle this heartache for years?  He answered, "Don't think about years Mom, just think about today."  Great advice, but oh so hard to do.

The other day we were having scripture study and part of the lesson application was to rate on a scale of one to ten how great your afflictions have been in your life.  When I asked the kids to do that I felt sure they would all answer the same as me---DEFINITELY A 10!  I was surprised and a little miffed that Megan and Zach both answered '3'.  What?!  I asked them to explain and they both said that although having Dad die is really hard, it could be worse.  Personally I can't imagine anything worse than having to live without Trent.  But as I thought about their answers I began to put things into perspective.  We haven't lost Trent.  We don't have to live without him forever.  This is just a temporary separation that will someday seem very inconsequential even though right now it is ENORMOUS and fills every thought of every day.  The hard part of this lesson is that keeping the eternal perspective is so hard.  It is not a lesson you learn once and you have mastered it.  You have to keep learning and relearning until it sticks.

The following is just for your viewing pleasure.  Megan posted the picture of Jonny on Facebook saying how much it looks like Trent.  I pretty much agree. :)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Life's Superheros

I have done much better at keeping myself busy enough to not be a blubbering mess all day long.  However, the tears still come daily and at unexpected times. Tuesday night during scripture study Jarom was being so obnoxious and he knew it too.  I had asked him to stop several times to no avail.  Remember how I said that scripture study was becoming the highlight of my day...well, not this time!  I did very well to remain calm and not freak out...I thought.  After what seemed like a completely futile attempt to teach my children from the scriptures, we said prayer and I quickly forced everyone out of my room. I closed the door and sobbed.  Jarom kept knocking softly and I refused to let him come in.  I don't know if he wanted the iPad or to apologize, I didn't give him either one.  This parenting thing is tough and even more so when I am the only one here to do it.  Ugh.  

Wednesday as soon as the kids were at school I went to the temple to do some initiatory.  Typical of a small town, I saw about a billion people I know.  That meant hugs all around and tears too.  The first person I saw was the mother of a good friend from high school.  We talked for a minute and she shared with me that she too feels like the Second Coming is very soon.  Man I love to hear that!  It always makes me feel better, like I can do this, if it is only for a short time.  

While I was doing the work, I saw the mother of another good friend from high school.  I haven't seen her for 18 years but I recognized her right away.  I was not sure she would know me so I didn't say anything.  As I listened to the beautiful blessings I began to cry.  She then asked me if I was Holly.  When I nodded my head she swooped me up in her arms and gave me a big hug.  She whispered to me that it has been 14 years since her husband died and she still thinks about him every day, even though she has since remarried.  She wiped my tears and treated me with all the love and kindness I could imagine.  It was a beautiful experience and I am so grateful! 

I often feel like everyone who sees me knows everything about me although I don't know them, like somehow Trent's passing has changed me physically and it is obvious that I am grieving the passing of my husband.   At times that makes me self conscious and I am super sensitive to people's eyes on me.  Today as I was on my morning walk with Jonny in the bike trailer and Scout on the leash, it seemed like I was getting many looks and second looks.  I was doing my best to ignore it and keep my mind on other things.  I had gone a few miles when I started noticing how long people were looking at me.  It was then that I looked down and remembered that Jonny was wearing his Spiderman costume, mask included.  I laughed right out loud!  I love my little superhero!

Spiderman a.k.a. Jonny

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Seven Weeks

Today marks seven weeks.  It feels like an eternity.  I can't believe that I have survived this long!  Ironically, this was the first Tuesday that I did not wake up well before 6:00 am (which is the time that Trent passed away) and think about the events of that morning.

Last week I was asked to be the head room parent for Jarom's class.  I tentatively agreed.  I have been hesitant to commit to anything because I never know what emotions each day will bring.  When I went to the meeting for room parents I had the opportunity to speak with Jarom's teacher.  He has been so good for Jarom and even Mallory.  He has already been such a blessing in our lives and continues to be.  While we spoke he told me how much Trent had affected his life and made him want to be a better father and husband.  Last spring Trent accompanied Jarom's class on a field trip and he and the teacher had a chance to talk a little.  I don't know what Trent said or did, I probably should have asked, but I was just grateful to hear it.  I, of course, started bawling.  When I got to my car, I sobbed for about five minutes before I left.  The tears continued all night off and on.

Zach's 13th birthday was Saturday.  Now half of us have had to endure a birthday without Trent.  The first thing I did when I woke up that morning was wish Zach a Happy Birthday.  He threw the blankets over his head and cried.  That was so hard.  I was feeling as miserable as he was about it but I had to put on the happy face and make his day special.  I know he was anticipating going to the Priesthood session of conference without Trent.  Zach only got to go with Trent twice but he definitely felt his absence that day.  I told him that I wanted him to see if he could feel Trent with him at the meeting because I was sure he would be there.

I was really looking forward to LDS General Conference.  I was hoping it would be a great weekend.  The talks were amazing, especially Elder Holland's.  What a sermon!  There were plenty of nuggets of goodness for me to chew on and internalize.  Surprisingly, it was a really difficult couple of days.  I was so lonely without my sweet husband by my side, enjoying the talks and council with me.

The highlight of the weekend was the announcement that young men can now serve missions at age 18 and young women at age 19.  I was holding my breath the entire time!  Many people were discussing the pros and cons of this change and how that would affect them.  I was amazed that they were not seeing the bigger picture.  Jeffrey R. Holland said it best during the press conference following the session, "God is hastening His work."  When I heard that statement my heart skipped a beat.  It is true...this change is definitely a step in the right direction...toward the Second Coming!

About two weeks before Trent passed away he challenged our family to finish the Book of Mormon by Christmas.  We figured that was doable considering we were already in Mosiah.  So since then we have doubled up our efforts to achieve that goal.  As we were speeding through the chapters it dawned on me that none of us was getting anything out of our reading.  So amid some protest from the kids, I decided we needed to start over, from the beginning.  I purchased a study guide and we are now on our third night of studying the INTRODUCTION.  Yep, that's right, three days of studying and we haven't even made it to "I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents..."  I decided it was far more important for us to know what we are reading, than to be able to say how many times we have read the Book of Mormon or that we finished by a certain date.  As it turns out, scripture study is now the highlight of my day.  There is a fair amount of responsibility on my shoulders to make sure that my children know the gospel and gain a testimony for themselves.  I know that Trent is helping in every way he can and that we are still doing this together.  I just wish he were a more visible teacher.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Part of a Whole

Last Friday I took Jarom, Mallory, and Jonathan swimming at the indoor pool.  It was easy because Trent hated going there, the water was always way too cold for his liking.  Nine times out of ten I took the kids swimming by myself so it wasn't like a "Dad used to do this with us" kind of thing.  For the first little while me and my three kids were the only ones in the whole pool.  Then a swim team showed up for practice which was good because there was a little more noise and fewer eyes only on us.  We had been having a great time swimming for about an hour when Jarom started hanging on me.  I dunked him a couple of times which only made him hang on me even more.  He is only nine but he is almost as big as me and I don't have too much longer before he will be able to take me.  I think he realized he was being just a bit aggressive and came at me with his big lips instead.  I burst into tears and told all the kids to get out of the pool.  I guess in that moment I realized how long it has been since Trent kissed me.  I got the kids into the shower and then I just sobbed.  I am sure they all think I am nuts.

Saturday I went with my friend, Suzanne, to the RS Women's Conference which I am sure was directed at me.  It seemed like every talk was specifically written for me.  When Sister Reeves was talking she said something that made my eyes and heart open up.  She said that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are NOT thinking, "It's okay that you hurt right now because soon everything will be okay."  That is sort of how I have been feeling and I think, "How can it be okay that I hurt so bad?"  I know that it will all be better eternally but right now the pain is intense.  But Sister Reeves assured me, (and everyone else) that my Heavenly Father and Savior weep with me.  They hurt for me and weep with me.  I honestly believe that Trent does too.

I was expecting Sunday to be a difficult day...I had planned to have our family pictures taken in the canyon.  This is not something that I was especially looking forward to, but I am a stickler for yearly family pictures.  I did not want pictures without Trent so we took a big framed picture of him and we all wore one of his plaid shirts.  It made the whole thing a lot easier to handle.  I did fine all through the shoot but on the way home I cried a million tears.  When we got home I had the kids watch the RS Conference with me.  I felt that they could learn something from it as well.  I hope they did.

In my room I have three pictures of Trent.  Two are from when he was sick and one is "healthy Trent".  I have noticed lately that I look past the pictures of him when he was sick and focus on the "good" one, because that is how I know he is now.  But I realized the other morning that in focusing on healthy Trent, I am only seeing part of who he is.  I miss his healthy physical body being with me right now, but our love for each other grew so much during the years that he was sick.  When I look past the sickly pictures I am looking past some of the growth and closeness of our relationship. Even though those years were extremely difficult and exhausting, I have very sweet memories of times we shared, and the things we expressed to one another in quiet moments.

I have been doing a ton of reading lately, mostly about the Second Coming and the spirit world.  I recently came across the following passage that brings me such peace and comfort. It is a quote from Parley P. Pratt who was speaking about the interest the spirits beyond the veil hold in their mortal loved ones.

"...we frequently hold communication with our departed father, mother, brother, sister, son or daughter; or with the former husband or wife of our bosom, whose affection for us, being rooted and grounded in the eternal elements, or issuing from under the sanctuary of love's eternal fountain, can never be lessened or diminished by death, distance of space, or length of years....

With that tenderness of love, with what solicitude of affection will they watch over our slumbers, hang about our pillows, and seek to communicate with our spirits, to warn us of dangers or temptation, to comfort and soothe our sorrow, or to ward off the ills which might befall us, or perchance to give us some kind token of remembrance of undying love." --Life Everlasting, quote from Parley P. Pratt

Before we left to take our pictures in the canyon I was getting my camera ready and came across a note Trent had given me over three years ago.  For some reason I have kept it in a pocket in the camera bag.  In my mind I only remember it saying, 'I Love You'.  But when I opened it again it said, "Holly, I love you.  I miss you.  I want to be with you.--Trent".  This, of course, brought on the tears.  I believe it is just one of the many ways that Trent is sending me a "remembrance of undying love."

This whole process is so hard to fathom.  I think I am still in a fog and have not fully wrapped my mind around what has happened.  I do not feel whole without Trent.  It feels as though a part of me has died and I will never be whole until I am with Trent again.  When I think of myself, I think of this...a part of a whole.
Forever, For Always, No Matter What