Feed your FAITH and your fears will starve .

Thursday, November 29, 2012


On Thanksgiving I learned that another much too young, beautiful, cancer warrior had been "rescued" by our Heavenly Father.  I did not know her personally but knew her family and her husband's family.  On Monday a mutual friend from Germany asked me and my dad to go visit her family and give his condolences.  As we arrived, I am sure some of the family did not know us or why we had come.  But as we spoke it became apparent that much more was to happen than our greeting with the family.  I was asked if I would speak to the young woman's husband because of the experiences that I have been through.  I welcomed the chance.  I was actually hoping to see him and just give him a hug.  He was called and he arrived at the house a short time later.  As soon as I saw him I recognized the look in his eyes.  I have seen it in my own many times.  My heart truly was broken again, for him and his two young boys.

I was somewhat apprehensive about talking with him.  I was afraid of the feelings it would stir up in me, like ripping off a scab to reveal a wound.  However, as we talked I felt that Trent was with me, helping me to say the right things.  We spoke for a couple of hours. We cried and laughed and cried some more.  It was so healing for me! It didn't make anything better, or change it in any way.  But I was able to recognize how far I have come and how much I have been comforted.  I wanted so badly to take all the pain and agony that is so familiar to me, away from this young family.  As we left I felt good, really good.  I haven't felt that in a long, long, time.

It was very difficult to "go back there" during our talk and the next night I had a meltdown of sorts.  A "trigger" got to me.  I thought I was doing pretty well until a picture of Trent on our wedding day was returned to me by Greg.  It was almost as if I couldn't touch it.  I reached out to take the photo but pulled my hand back quickly.  I finally took it and went to put it away.  I had a quick cry, knowing that the bigger cry was boiling up inside of me.  I was able to put that cry away until I went to bed that night.  Then it erupted in a big way.  Sigh.

That same night I was contacted by another young widow in our area.  It seems we are all drawn to one another.  There are very few people who can truly understand what it is to lose a spouse, especially at such a young age.  In addition, all three of us have lost our spouses to cancer.  I am so grateful that there are others out there to share my feelings with, who really get it.  With that being said, I would do almost anything to change the circumstances for all of us.  There is so much suffering in this world and I seriously think we could  just skip right on to the Second Coming to heal us all.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Still Standing

We made it through the much feared, dreaded, and yes, even loathed, events of last week.  We faced the three month anniversary, Thanksgiving, Mallory's baptism, and decorating the Christmas tree.  Along with many very difficult moments we experienced some very sweet moments as well.

Last Tuesday I got a call from Trent's second cousin whom I have never met.  She wanted to come by the house the next day to meet me and give me a hug.  I was grateful that she would reach out to me in that way.  I am not sure that I had a whole lot to offer her but her love and concern helped me remember the love our Heavenly Father has for me and the many ways He has shown me that love.

We had a very nice visit complete with tears and hugs all around.  Heidi and her family brought gifts and chocolate.  Chocolate helps everything!  We all received a figurine of a person praying, to make our whole family.  When I pulled out the father figurine I cried, of course.  It is a beautiful gift and it helps me remember that we are all still together in this, we just can't be with Trent right now.

The Dunn Family-Ashton, Heidi, Lily, Parker, Braxton, and Jason
Thanksgiving was a real downer for me.  I did not cry all day long like I thought I might but I was certainly not any fun to be around.  Before we ate my dad told me he was going to mention Trent in the prayer and didn't want to blindside me.  Even with the forewarning I still had a little meltdown but Lyndsi, my sister-in-law, was right there to put her arms around me and offer her love.

I had many people call or text me on that day to make sure I was okay.  I really appreciate it!  It is so easy to lose myself in my thoughts for hours on end and it doesn't usually end well when I do that.  The distraction was good for me.

Friday I had to do a little shopping-no, not Black Friday shopping.  No way.  Not this year.  I didn't go out until the afternoon.  I did  fine for awhile but then I started seeing all the couples out doing their shopping and it made me hurt.  Trent LOVED to shop for Christmas and it is just so hard to do it without him.  I think I will do all the shopping online so I don't have to watch everyone else enjoy that part of their holiday.  It is not that I don't want them to be happy but it just accentuates my loneliness.

When I got home a spent a few minutes with Mallory making sure she was ready for her baptism the next day.  I had to "practice" with her, you know, where she puts her hands, how she would be lowered into the water, etc.  The whole time I was thinking, "I should not be doing this, dang it! This is not how it is supposed to be!"  But I held it together until after she went to bed.  Yes, a few, or a lot of tears slipped out then.

I got up early on Saturday and made all the soups then took Scout for a jog.  I was feeling pretty good and it was especially quiet.  I found a not too muddy spot and took a moment to pray and think to Trent.  I say "think to Trent" because I think it is totally weird to talk out loud to him so I usually hold the entire conversation in my head.  It calmed me down and I felt peace.

Mallory asked me to speak at her baptism so I chose to do the talk on Baptism so I could get it over with before the waterworks began.  While we were waiting I felt so calm.  I KNOW that Trent was there.  I wish I had seen him but I didn't.  I did feel that he was near me and was helping to keep me calm.  I was able to give the talk I had prepared without sobbing which I thought was a real plus.  I cried some but not too much.  When my dad confirmed Mallory he acknowledged that Trent was there and welcomed him.  The spirit was so strong!  It all went very well and we were able to have some very sacred and spiritual experiences.
Mallory and me right before the baptism.
I was quite surprised at how well I was handling everything.  We got the lunch started and I was just kind of hanging out in the hall making sure people were getting their food.  Trevor, Trent's brother, walked up and put his arm around me.  I lost it.  I grabbed him and cried and cried and cried.  He just held me while my body shook, trying to keep in the sobs.  All afternoon I had to put on the smile and act like everything was okay.  Zach kept asking if I was okay and when I told him I was he said, "I think you are lying."  Well, he may have been right.  Finally when I could take it  no more I went downstairs and let all the sobs out.  It is unfortunate that such a special day has to be so hard.  Thank goodness I don't have to do that for another few years.

That night all the kids piled into my bed and onto the floor for a movie in my room.  I was glad they all stayed close.  I think I really needed it.

After the events of the past few days and all the emotions that went with it, I think I lost my mind.  For some dumb reason I thought that Sunday afternoon would be a good time to put up the Christmas tree.  I know why I did it, because Trent would have done it then.  He always wanted the tree up and the house decorated as soon as Thanksgiving was over.  It was not as fun as it was when Trent did it.  He was always so excited and really had fun decorating.  This time, I was doing a lot of swallowing, trying to keep in the tears so the kids wouldn't see how much it hurt.  Ugh.

We made it through a whole bunch of hard things this week and we are still standing.  As hard as it was, it gives me hope that we can do more hard things.  I don't like it, I don't want it, I would trade it all away in a second.  However, I know we are given strength when we need it most.  I guess I will have to settle for that for now.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My Blessings

I have a confession to make.  I think I am in love.  Saturday I went on my second date with a plethora of fire arms and was absolutely in LOVE!  I can't believe how much I enjoy shooting!  It is such a stress reliever for me and I am seriously thinking Santa needs to bring me a gun for my very own!

All the stress relief was for naught though, by Tuesday morning I was a big mess again.  I found myself in a parenting nightmare and was profoundly aware that Trent was not there.  Who was I to discuss this with?  Who was going to help me decide on an appropriate consequence?  My feelings of being alone quickly turned to anger that Trent had not been able to prevent the problem from the other side.  I have heard many times that the influence Trent will have from the other side of the veil will be tremendous and that may be how he will "live to raise his children to maturity".  Well, where the heck was he?

I grabbed my phone and the dog and went for a RUN.  I haven't run that hard or that fast for quite awhile.  When I finally couldn't run anymore I called my friend Greg.  I screamed all the things I was feeling at him and basically acted insane.  He listened quietly until, in between sobs, I told him I would talk to him later and hung up.  I went home and tried to put myself together enough to go to the elementary school for my volunteer hour.  While I was there I got a text from Greg telling me he was at my house waiting for me.  He had left his job, in Provo, and driven straight up to see me.  He said he had a good talk with Trent at the cemetery while he waited for me to finish.  When we talked he basically just sat there and let me do all of the talking/complaining/crying.  He is an amazing friend and I have known that for a long time.  He just keeps proving it to me over and over again.

We picked up Jonathan and went to McDonalds (or Knick Knack Donalds as Jonathan calls it) for lunch.  Greg was trying to get Jonathan to eat his chicken nuggets and he said, "If you are not going to eat them, can I?"  Jonathan immediately replied, "Yes, because I love you."  That caught Greg off guard and he was instantly trying to fight back the tears.  That is life with my little Jonathan.  He is so sweet!

As the holidays descend on us I feel as though I am in a room where the walls are closing in on me and there is no escape.  I would love to jump right over these next few weeks and never face them at all.  But as Winston Churchill says, "When you are going through hell, don't stop."  So, on we go.

Trent sent the following text to our families last Thanksgiving, shortly after arriving home from Boston where we had hoped to have a life saving surgery performed.  I saved it on my phone and every time I read it I cry.

"I'm tremendously thankful to a loving Heavenly Father who crafted a remarkable plan for each one of us.  I have been reminded of His personal investment in every one of His children because of the the tender mercies that are abundantly given when we need the help.  I have witnessed COUNTLESS times when all seemed lost, that there was a person, situation, etc. that made it okay.  Despite the ugliness that may have overtaken me, I have always found comfort and peace when it mattered most.  On this special day when we gather as families to express our blessings to one and all, I love our amazing Heavenly Father, the Son for his atonement that will bind our family units together eternally, my sweetheart who has given her life to help preserve mine, this wonderful family, and stuffing, leftover turkey and cold pie!  Love you all to life!  Have a beautiful day!  TRENT"

He is amazing and I miss him so much!  Trent loved Thanksgiving because he LOVED to eat!  It is going to be very difficult to enjoy the holiday without Trent.  So far, I have been able to keep my emotions in check, well, mostly.  Tomorrow may be a different story.

I am really going to try and focus on all the blessings I have.  I cannot deny that our family has been abundantly blessed and that continues daily.  Today I am thankful that we are three months closer to being with Trent again.  I am so thankful that when we went to Boston, twice, last year at this time, we were sent home without the surgery we had hoped for.  That allowed us to spend Thanksgiving AND Christmas with our family.  We didn't know at the time that those would be our last holidays with Trent.

I am grateful for my amazing children who teach me so much everyday.  Yesterday I came across a FB message between Megan and a friend on the day Trent passed away.  The friend told her how sorry she was that the Lord had taken Trent.  Megan replied that He didn't "take" Trent, He rescued him.   I was shocked to read that but instantly had the image of a loving Heavenly Father taking Trent in his arms and healing all the pain and sorrow he had endured.  I had never thought of it in quite that way and it helped me.

I am so blessed to be surrounded by wonderful friends, who visit me, who drop everything for me, who text or call or message me at exactly the right moment.  I think I must have been part of a large group in the pre-existence that promised that we would all look out for each other on earth.

I am thankful for a very large family-mine and Trent's, who have supported us and loved us from the very beginning.  They have allowed my hissy fits and turned the other cheek.  I am truly grateful for the efforts they make to help even though I don't always show my appreciation.  Last week I attended the temple with my sister-in-law.  It was hard for me.  By the time I got to the celestial room I was hanging on by a thread.  She didn't say a word, just pulled me into her arms and let me cry and cry and cry.

I am extremely grateful for my eternal companion, for the love that we share that cannot be taken from us by cancer or death.   I am thankful for the 17 years, 8 months, and 12 days that I knew him on earth.  He made me a better person and made me believe I could be who he thought I already was.  Life with him was my paradise.  I miss him a thousand times more than I ever thought possible but I know that I will be with him again and all will be made right.

I am grateful for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who has carried me, comforted me, and given me hope when I thought all was lost.  He has answered my prayers and calmed my heart.  I know that He lives, and because He lives, Trent lives.  And I will one day be reunited with Trent and we will never know the pain of separation again. Yes, I am blessed.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Looking for Peace

This week has been iffy at best.  As a family we are having more good moments but we still have many difficult moments that sometimes avalanche into horrendous ones.  The thing that brings me the most peace right now is scripture study with the kids.  That is the time of the day when I feel the best.  Sometimes the kids are absolute slugs during scripture study and that is frustrating, but other times we have meaningful discussions and I really feel like we are learning!

Early this week I could feel myself heading into the downward spiral I had been warned about.  I was told by a friend who is in a similar situation that "after you have some good days the bad days seem even worse." Last week was mostly good so I was a little apprehensive about how long that would last and how bad it would be when it ended.  Well, it ended Tuesday.  When Zach was little (about 3 or 4 years old) he had a thing for Tuesdays.  Anytime we asked him to do something he would reply, "I will do that on Tuesday, okay?"  We always thought that was so funny and it became a joke between Trent and me.  Now Tuesdays are miserable.  I no longer wake up early and relive every horrible moment of Trent's passing.  Instead, I wake up early and relive cherished memories.  You would think that would make me happy but it just accentuates my loneliness and feelings of monumental loss.  My memories are so vivid that it is still very difficult to comprehend that Trent is no longer here.

Tuesday was a weepy day for me.  I had cried all day off and on. I put in the final order for Trent's headstone and we are crossing our fingers that the weather holds up long enough to place the stone before the end of the year.  That night Mallory was really missing Trent and asked if we could take flowers to his grave the next day.  We haven't been there for a while so I thought that was nice.  I also spoke with a friend and we both shared the stories of our spouses' deaths.  It actually made me feel good in a strange way.  It was a good release emotionally for me.  Of course, I still cried myself to sleep after that.  Wednesday Zach was a mess and my head hurt from so much crying.  After breakfast we both laid in bed and cried.  I shared with him my current favorite scripture in John 14:18.  It helped us both, I think.  I only let him stay home for half of the day this time.  When Mallory came home from school I took her to buy some flowers.  She picked a cute little bouquet in a bright yellow pot.

(The box of chocolates from the graveside service is still on his grave...I just can't  make myself throw it away.)
The cemetery is not really peaceful for me.  Seeing that metal marker with Trent's name is just a cruel slap in the face.  Hopefully the headstone will be easier to see.
When we arrived we found that someone else had been there and left cookies and a little basket of flowers.  Tears sprang to my eyes as I realized that someone else is missing and remembering Trent too.  Whoever it was...thank you.  Thank you for remembering my husband and our daddy.

The rest of that night I was a mess.  I had to go to my photography class and on the way there I was really losing control.  I quickly called a friend and said, "I am on the verge of a meltdown.  I need you to tell me that I am okay, that I can do this, and that the second coming is soon!"  Well, he did none of those things but he did make me laugh just a little.  I was able to pull myself together and make it through class.  If anyone noticed my puffy eyes, they didn't mention it.

By Friday I was engulfed in my own world.  I live so much of my life inside my own head because I don't have Trent to share all of the funny little moments and life in general.  I have a hard time communicating sometimes and my kids get so frustrated.  They will  tell me things and then ask me a question about it and I haven't heard a thing they said.  I am working on that.  Friday afternoon I got a phone call from a new friend that I met through this blog.  When she called she was very emotional.  She had just learned that her husband's cancer had returned and is terminal.  The doctors have given him months to live.  My heart broke for her!  I am devastated that someone else has to go through this!  However, I felt the overwhelming desire to help bear her burden, as so many have willingly done for me.  As hard as it was to listen to her news, I was so grateful she had called me.  When we hung up I cried and cried for her.  That sent me into a tailspin and I cried all evening.  I haven't cried that hard for weeks.  Thankfully I have a handful of friends who have experienced this heartache and was able to talk to a couple of them.  More and more I am seeing the truth of the Lord's promise, "I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you."

Monday, November 12, 2012

Another Milestone Conquered

Friday was Mallory's 8th birthday.  I was pretty busy trying to put together a party for her and make her day special.  I made it through that day mostly unscathed-minus a few minutes in the morning when I may have yelled at the birthday girl. :( We threw a princess party for her with 11 of her friends.  I asked the older kids for help but mostly got Jarom being the center of attention and Jonathan wanting to tag along with everything too.  Mallory was a pretty good sport about it all.  After the party we all jumped in the suburban and went to Wendy's drive thru for dinner.  I know, not the most fantastic place for a birthday dinner but we were in a hurry to get to the movie theatre to see "Wreck It Ralph".  The last time we went to a movie with Trent we saw, "Brave" and the preview for "Wreck It Ralph" was shown before the movie.  We all decided we had to see it.  Trent would have loved it.  It was a pretty cute show.  Ever since then Jonathan has been running around with a baseball cap on and a toy hammer strapped to his waist saying, "I can fix it!"

We are also gearing up for Mallory's baptism.  I got lazy and ordered her dress, shoes, and slip online last Monday.  Surprisingly her dress arrived Wednesday afternoon.  I knew the weather was not going to wait for the shoes to arrive so we quickly did her hair and nails and snapped some pictures outside. I am nervous for the big day.  I am sure it will be hard but I am also hoping that at least Mallory will be able to feel Trent near her.

Last night as I was tucking Mallory into bed she told me how sad she was that Trent was not here to lift her up and carry her.  She was crying about how she and Jonny had not gotten that for two years and would never get it again.  She remembers when Trent would carry her to bed or put her on his shoulders and play.  We were both bawling like babies.  She is worried that when she does see Trent again she will be too big for him to lift up.  I assured her that Daddy was really strong and he would be able to lift us all up because his body will be perfect and he won't be sick anymore.  I can't wait to see that happen.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


For the last five days or so I have really struggled.  Halloween started it all and it has been a little difficult to get back on track.  Thankfully I have a loving and very attentive husband who is doing his best to get me through this.  With that being said, he is still in trouble when I see him again.

Friday I was busy bawling in my room, again, when I started getting multiple texts and phone calls from people.  The phone call was from Angelique, the sweetest social worker I have ever met.  As soon as she asked how I was doing I started bawling.  She said, "I knew it! Trent has been bugging me since Tuesday to call you.  He won't leave me alone."  We talked for a while and she assured me that what I am feeling is normal and that it WILL get better.  I told her about always seeing Trent's smiling face in his picture while I sit and cry.  She told me the reason Trent is smiling is because of me and our kids.  I guess that is a good way of thinking about it.  Angelique is good therapy for me.  She knows just what to say and how/when to say it.  She makes me feel like this is a trial I can handle but completely understands that I don't want to handle it.  I just want it fixed.  I am glad that Trent is working in his way to help me through this mess.  I still wish he were here to help though.

I have a good friend from Providence who lost his father at a young age and understands some of the feelings of grief that I am experiencing.  He invited me to go shooting pumpkins up Providence Canyon on Saturday. I left my kids with his wife so I didn't have to worry about them with guns.  Our family is pretty inexperienced with guns and I figured I better learn something first.  We set out about twenty pumpkins for targets.  I shot about five different guns and loved every minute of it!  I can't believe how therapeutic it was to blast the stuffing out of those pumpkins!  I actually laughed...really laughed.  That hasn't happened for a long time.  Megan told me the other day that when I laugh it sounds forced.  Well, it probably is.  I guess I am not as good of a faker as I thought I was.
30-30 Winchester (excuse my horrible farmer's tan please)

9 mm Glock and my "Charlie's Angels" stance

Sporting my first "gun bruise"
I have a friend who keeps telling me that I need to realize that this situation is not fixable, that my new job is "coping" not "fixing".  I don't like to hear that at all but I know it is true.  The other day I was reading "The Gateway" by Russel M Nelson.  On the very last page he quotes the following scripture found in John 14:18:

18 I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.

After I read that I had to stop and think back at the many times that has been true in my life and most especially over the last few months.  Just yesterday I was desperately praying for someone to talk to that second and before I could even finish my prayer I was receiving a text from just the person I needed right then.  I know I am being heard and that I haven't been left comfortless.  I think I am pretty much a full time responsibility in the comfort area right now.  My need is constant.  I am extremely grateful to a loving Heavenly Father who, along with my sweet Trent, is ever mindful of my needs and is willing to answer my prayers in the form of good friends, family, and occasionally a bit of pumpkin blastin'.

Friday, November 2, 2012


Tuesday night I was talking with a friend and he asked if I was ready for Halloween.  I felt confident I was.  All the costumes were ready, the class party was planned, and I was pretty sure I was emotionally set.  Oh how wrong I was!

Wednesday morning was a flood of tears that seemed to come out of nowhere.  I am still not sure what the big deal is.  Halloween is fun but certainly not the spiritual, family oriented, faith inspiring holiday that would wreak such havoc on my emotional stability.  For much of our married life Trent worked swing shift so he never went trick-or-treating with us anyway.  Even when he wasn't working, one of us would stay home and the other would take the kids.  Trent never dressed up for it and I rarely did either.  But nonetheless, it was a heartbreaking day and the tears have continued to flow since then.

Yesterday Jarom had a soccer game in Morgan.  On the way back we were talking about his teacher at school whose wife is about to have a baby.  Jarom was asking some normal questions about pregnancy and how long it takes etc.  After I explained how a baby grows inside the mother for nine months he said, "So you could have a baby in nine months?"  Uh, no.  I told him you have to have a husband to have a baby so I would not be having any more babies.  I am sure you can all see the slippery slope I was treading on.  Yes, that launched us into the "birds and the bees" talk.  Whoa.  I was kind of laughing inside while I answered only the questions he asked and did not give any more details than he needed.  It was a moment that Trent and I would have laughed our heads off about how embarrassing and uncomfortable it was!  Of course, I did not have him to laugh with and that sunk my mood pretty low.

When I got home an old high school friend had contacted me on FB and said some very nice things about how our story had impacted his life.  Yep, more tears.  I sat there staring up at the picture of Trent, bawling my eyes out.  It is always there, silently watching me cry and struggle through each day, never saying a word.  The silence mocks me as I cry myself to sleep each night.  How I wish I could just turn back the clock and choose a different life!  I would take any trial...just as long as Trent was here with me.

I took Scout for a run without Jonathan this morning.  I was trying to sort out all the mess of the last couple of days and get my head back in the right place.  I am not so sure that running while bawling is any safer than driving while bawling.  I am lucky to be back home, in one piece, although my heart is still broken into a million pieces.