Feed your FAITH and your fears will starve .

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ridiculously Hard Weekend

I knew it would come.  I have been feeling so much better lately that I knew the backwards slide would come eventually.  Last week as the six month mark was coming closer I could feel myself slipping back into the heavy grief that I have worked so hard to come out of.  Trent was on my mind 100% of the time and I miss him so much!  I can still hear his laugh, see his smile, and know exactly how he would react to any situation.  Thankfully, most of those memories are not of sick Trent.   I have found that when I think of Trent it is almost always the happy, healthy,  pre-cancer Trent that comes to mind.

Last Thursday marked six months closer for us.  Again, I attempted a carrot cake in Trent's honor.  At two months the carrot cake was an epic fail.  After that, the Pursers, from my ward, brought over a new recipe for me to try.  Can you say AMAZING?!!!  It was so good that I am going to share it on the blog so that anyone else who would like to honor Trent can do so with the most amazing carrot cake I have ever tasted.  We even had to rename it.  It is now affectionately referred to as "Daddy Cake" by all of our kids.

Daddy Cake

Mix well together:

3 eggs
1 1/4 c. oil
2 c. grated carrots
2 1/2 c. flour
1 t. soda
1 t. cinnamon
2 c. sugar
1 c. crushed pineapple (drained)
3/4 t. cloves (we didn't have any so I substituted nutmeg)
1/2 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
3/4 c. chopped nuts (we used walnuts)

Bake @ 350 degrees until it bounces back when touched.  I baked it in a cookie sheet and it took about 25 minutes.

3 oz. cream cheese
1 box of powdered sugar (I don't buy powdered sugar in a box so I just dumped enough in to make it yummy)
1/2 stick of butter, softened
1 t. vanilla
Sprinkle iced cake with chopped nuts.

We took the cake and headed to Rexburg for our nephew's wedding.  It was in the Idaho Falls Temple which is the same temple that Trent and I were married in.  I was really hoping that it would not be the same sealing room, which it was not.  Again, my choice of seating was not great.  I was seated on the front row, right in front of the altar, with a clear view into the mirrors.  Ugh.  That was hard.  Needless to say, I did a whole lot of blinking while staring at the ceiling.  It didn't work though, I still bawled.  I held it together pretty well clear until I got downstairs to put on my shoes and coat.  Trent's brother, Travis was right there and I basically fell into his arms and sobbed.  He rocked me and shushed me as gently as Trent would have.  I was really hoping to have a clear knowledge that Trent was in the temple with us, but I didn't.  I am sure he was there but I didn't feel him.  Travis said he knew he was there and that he suddenly had a feeling that he should come and hug me.  He said he felt like that was Trent telling him what to do.  

The reception that night was just as hard.  I had to escape a couple of times to bawl.  Each time I thought I was okay I would make my way back to the party only to have another wave of emotion hit me.  And each time, Travis was there with open arms to comfort me.  Really all of Trent's family was very attentive and sensitive to how difficult it would be for me.  At one point Jake, the groom, took time away from his reception to seek me out to comfort me.  He sat with his arm around me and bore his testimony of the Atonement and its healing power.  A little later BJ, Trent's cousin, walked up and placed his 13 day old daughter in my arms and said he just felt like I needed to hold her.  He has no idea how badly I needed to hold that little girl!  I firmly believe that a little piece of heaven comes down with each child and I really needed heaven close to me right then.  I truly have been blessed to be surrounded by such amazing people.  

On Saturday I was getting ready to go to a spinning class with my sister-in-law, Angie.  Out of the blue Mallory told me she didn't want me to get remarried because she didn't want to have a step dad.  I assured her that nothing like that was happening any time soon and that any decision I ever made regarding that would be made with my kids in mind first.  I told her that no one would/could ever replace Trent.  She said she really just wanted someone to come to our house and comfort us each day and play with us.  She then continued to describe the concept of the "group home" in detail.  I laughed out loud because I have thought for a while that it was the perfect solution for everyone in  my situation.  The plan is to build a large home with several wings and a spacious commons area.  That way, all of us who have lost a spouse can have our own wing for our families but when we need companionship we can meet in the commons area.  Great idea, right?!  hahaha

The weekend was full of memories of Trent for me.  I see similarities between Trent and his siblings and it pulls at my heart strings.  On the way home I listened to the CD that Trent always used to calm down and bring in the Spirit.  It was hard to listen to and I bawled almost all the way home.  I miss him so much but I also know that he expects me to carry on and make something out of my life.  I have to be engaged in life and working hard to accomplish all that the Lord needs me to.  Trent's earthly mission is complete but I am still here, obviously not finished with my mission.  That is so frustrating and it makes me so sad.  But I heard a funny quote the other day that has helped lift my mood several times.  "Whenever I am sad, I stop being sad and start being awesome."  I think it is pretty funny but it also reminds me that I have a choice.  I can be sad and wallow in my grief, or I can pick myself up and do something productive.  It is a choice that I have to make every single day.  Sometimes I have to make that choice several times a day.  Sometimes I don't make the right decision.  But I am learning and getting stronger as time goes by and I think that is what the Lord intends.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Stupid Valentine's Day

As I was gearing up for what was sure to be a very difficult day...I came up with a brilliant idea!  Go shooting!  That always puts me on a high for at least a few days and I figured that could help buffer the sting of Valentine's Day.  So Aly, Marc, and I met Marc's brother-in-law, Phil, at Impact Guns in Ogden for some shoot 'em up fun!  We had the best time shooting.  I shot anything I could get my hands on...several different hand guns and an AR 15.  It was AMAZING! I haven't been that giddy in a long time. :)

Many thanks to Phil who kept the guns loaded!

Aly with the AR 15
Marc and his victim
Really...who DOESN'T want to shoot that?!  
We were all hoping Valentine's Day would be bearable but it still turned out to be a bit hurtful and I did some crying but for the most part I was okay...just kind of glum.  I kept myself pretty busy that day.  I didn't want a whole lot of time to think.  I had a couple of extra minutes in the morning while I was out running errands and decided to drive to the cemetery.  Bad idea.  I do not find comfort there, especially without a headstone.  When I got there the ugly metal marker was completely covered in snow about 2.5 feet deep.  I didn't even get out of the suburban.  I just sat there and bawled.  I am not sure if it was worse to see it all covered up or to see the stupid metal marker.  I hate both views.   I hope it gets better when the headstone is placed but I doubt it.  The cemetery just brings back the memories of the graveside service, not my favorite memories.

After I went to the cemetery I did a class party for Jarom and had a lot of fun doing it.  When I got home I received two deliveries of flowers.  One from Trent's mom saying she knew Trent would want me to have flowers on that day.  And the other was anonymous, saying they were from Trent's helper.  I think I have a pretty good idea of who sent those.  I am very grateful to be remembered and loved.  It was a hard day to be without Trent.  I ordered his favorite chocolates from Mom's Candy Kitchen in Rexburg and got Trent a bouquet of balloons.  I wish he had been here to enjoy them. For dinner I decorated the dining room and laid out Valentine's for my kids.  

All of that heartache was just a little too much for me so I took off to St. George with a friend on the spur of the moment.  It was exactly what I needed!!!!  Sunshine and a complete change of scenery. aaahhhh.  Beautiful!  I took my camera along and had fun seeing life through a lens instead of my reality.  I also took my new running clothes and gave them a couple of test runs outside.  Oh my gosh that was refreshing!  It was still cold in the morning but it was so good to run outside.  I ran laps around the temple and then finished off with a few quiet/teary moments on the temple grounds.  It was exactly what I needed.
St. George Temple

Dixie Rock

Dixie Rock

Cove Fort

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mallory Moments

This little girl is the sweetest little girl there is.  On Monday night during FHE we drew hearts and then filled them with all the things in our lives that we loved.  Of course the first thing she drew was a picture of Trent.  She told me that they had been given an assignment in school to write about what they would do if they could go into the past.  The other kids were writing things like, "Go visit the dinosaurs".  She said she would make it so her Daddy never got cancer.  Instead of having Trent bump his hip on the stairs she would put herself there instead so she could bump her back and just get a bruise.  (The whole cancer thing started after Trent bumped his hip while playing Nerf Wars with the boys in December of 2009.)  I started bawling and told her how sweet she was.  Then last night as I was tucking her into bed she started crying and said that she never imagined her life would be this way.  (She might have heard me say that 1000 or so times.)  She was sad because she always has to have friends over now to play, where before she never did because Trent would play dolls and Barbies with her.  Oh my, that started the tears again.  She is really missing her Daddy and I feel so bad for her!  She is his little princess and he treated her like she hung the moon.  How I wish I could take this pain from her but all I can do is assure her that Daddy loves her, watches over her, and misses her like crazy.  Of course she is still praying for the day that she will see Trent again to be really soon!

Friday, February 8, 2013


I have thought a lot about all the things that we do to cope with the loss of a loved one.  What comforts us, what triggers us, and what we just can't handle.  I would love to be a fly on the wall in other people's lives to see if what I do is normal because I know I do some weird things.

Things that comfort me:
 1. Hearing Trent's voice on my voicemail.
 2. Seeing his clothes in his closet.
 3. Seeing his handwriting.
 4. Putting Trent's name on my tithing slip.
 5. Wearing Trent's socks.  I wear his socks everyday.  When I go to the temple I wear his socks, even though they are way too big for me.  If you ever see me at the temple and the heel of my stockings is on the back of my leg it is not because I don't own stockings that fit me, it is because I am taking Trent to the temple with me. :)
 6. Sleeping with Trent's "heart pillow".
 7. Sleeping on his side of the bed.
 8. Smelling his cologne or deodorant.
 9. Seeing bits and pieces of Trent in each one of our kids.
10. Talking about Trent.

Things that trigger me:
1. Seeing someone with similar physical traits as Trent.
2. Hearing his voice on my voicemail.
3. Seeing his clothes in his closet.  Especially the pair of shorts he wore last that still have his belt in them.
4. Seeing a hearse.
5. Hospital stuff.
6. Seeing the 'perfect' happy family whose lives look free from any pain.
7. Who knows?  I get triggered by all sorts of things that I would never expect at times when I least expect it.

Things I just can't handle:
1. Thinking Trent is near and I can't feel him.
2. Thinking about how long I might live without him.
3. Thinking that I may someday forget how to love him because he has been gone for so long.
4. Knowing that someone I love is suffering.  I think I have watched enough suffering in my life already.
5. Thinking that I won't be able to measure up to what my life is supposed to be because I am lost in my grief.

Today has been a little rough for me but I still think I am doing way better than before.  I am able to bounce back a little quicker when grief knocks me down.  Granted, I am a little shaky when I bounce back...but at least I do.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Lessons Learned

The past week has been quite the emotional roller coaster for me.  Thankfully the highs are getting higher and the lows don't dip as low.  I feel like I am doing much better than before although I am not so naive to think I will not have setbacks.

Last Saturday I got to spend some time with Mark and LaDena.  They both picked my brain about several things and I was happy to share with them.  In doing so, I realized how far I have come.  Mark told me that he had been very concerned about me but felt like I was better.  I shed a few tears while at their house and after I left, but they felt more like cleansing tears that left me a little shaky but not broken.

That night I got to visit Shea, a friend who is battling colon cancer.  She and Trent formed a really tight bond and we just love her!  She is the sweetest, most adorable woman ever and it breaks my heart to know she is suffering.  She shared with me some of the things she has learned and some of the things she fears.  We had a great visit and I am so glad I went.

Sunday morning was Stake Conference.  I had to sing in the choir and just happened to be seated just behind the speakers, on camera the entire time!  AARRGGHH!  Lucky for the whole stake, they all got a real up-close and personal view of every emotion that I experienced during the meeting.  Unfortunately that included a meltdown.  As part of my dad's talk, he asked Mallory to stand and sing, "Reverently, Quietly".  He stood next to her with his arm around her while she sang a solo at the pulpit.  When she was done he kissed her on the head and turned to the audience and said, "I just love it when we can feel Trent here."  I was already bawling because Mallory had done such a great job but that comment sent me over the edge.  The tears were coming like a waterfall.  I finally was handed a fistful of tissues which I continued to soak for the remainder of the meeting.  Wowza.

This week has also been a real eye opener for me with Jarom.  He can be pretty tough to handle sometimes and I am often left wondering what in the world to do with him.  On Tuesday night he made me promise that I would get up and exercise with him at 6:00 am.  Well, that didn't happen because I was too tired to get my batootie out of bed.  He was upset when he realized we had missed our time.  I made him get in bed with me, mostly because I was still too tired to get up.  I cuddled up to him and told him how much I loved him and how much Dad loves him too.  He resisted at first but quickly settled down.  We now have a standing cuddle appointment each morning at 6:05am (or whenever I wake up).  Who knew that was what he was needing?  It is sometimes hard for me to remember that even though that giant kid is almost as big as me, he is still only nine years old and needs his mommy to cuddle him every once in a while.

I think I am finally coming out of myself enough to see what the kids are needing.  I would like to think that I have been a great mom and have been in tune to each child as they grieve, but realistically, I think I have missed a lot.  I learned that Zach needs family time.  He is feeling like we don't gather together as much as we used to, even though we gather for scripture study nightly.  He wants more of the hang-out and have fun time.  I learned that Jarom needs cuddle time.  One-on-one time with Mom and a little tickle on his arms does wonders for that kid.  I learned that Megan needs to hear "I love you" more than I give her.  I assume she knows it but vocalizing it more regularly and sincerely has helped both of us.

This morning was particularly difficult for me.  All sorts of thoughts were swirling through my already tired brain.  Repeatedly the tears would come only to stop seconds later and be replaced by feelings of peace.  It seemed that every time I tried to cry to release my emotions, my heart was instantly calmed.  I prayed for a while then got up and read the February Ensign.  Of course I felt like there were several articles in it that were written just for me.  One quote that I read today was especially sweet.

"I wish to speak particularly to you who feel your lives are broken, seemingly beyond repair. To all such I offer the surest and sweetest remedy that I know.  It is found in the clarion call the Savior of the world Himself gave...'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.'"---Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Of all the things I have learned this week, I hold one most sacred and dear.  I learned that by turning to the Savior and putting all of my trust in Him, I have found more peace than any other way.  I used to read the quote above and associate it with dying and receiving rest at the end of our lives.  But now I see it differently.  By turning to the Savior now, I am receiving rest from my burdens in the form of unexpected blessings.  I am being blessed with more joy, more peace, and more love---things I thought I could never fully partake of again.

(Of course I have also learned to be very careful when choosing my seat at Stake Conference...) :)