Feed your FAITH and your fears will starve .

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tender Moments

A couple of weeks ago I was getting anxious about decorating Trent's grave for Fall.  The cemetery he is buried in has lots of restrictions on what you can put on the graves and I was having a hard time finding exactly what I wanted.  Finally I decided I would make two flower arrangements and went to Joann's to pick the flowers.  As I was purchasing the stems the cashier asked me in a really excited voice what I was going to do with all the pretty flowers.  Awkward.  I quietly told her I was decorating my husband's grave and then struggled the rest of the time not to cry in front of her.  I am sure she felt dumb but sometimes I just want to spit out a very direct answer to put them on the spot on purpose.  Rude, I know. 

I also picked up some Swedish Fish and Jonny and I drove to Brigham.  He was so sweet and tender when he put the box of fish on the headstone.  He kept asking me if Daddy was going to come alive and eat them. Oh how I wish...

A couple of nights ago I overheard Jack and Jonny discussing the fact that Jonny's daddy is dead.  Jonny was adamant that he was not dead.  He said, "My dad is NOT dead because he lives in me!"  Yes, the tears were flowing after that.  One night while I was putting Jonny to bed he told me in detail about the day that he ran away and crossed the big street all alone. (You can read about that HERE.) He told me that "Dad came back alive in his body and made the cars stop on the road.  After we got across the street he waved his arm and the cars started going again."  I would love to have seen that!  I really hope that Jonny is able to hang on to these memories.

Right after Trent passed away I was really on a spiritual high for quite a while.  It seems sort of backwards but when you are driven to your knees and humbled you become teachable.  I felt closer to the Spirit than I ever had before.  I knew I was a changed person and I didn't want to ever go back to who I was before. However, if you are not constantly moving toward God, you are sliding backwards.  There is no standing still in the journey.  Recently I have felt as if I was standing still and I realized once again that means I am moving backwards.  Life gets so busy and there are so many emotions of mine and 10 other people that I have to handle every day.  It is a lot of work!  I realized how much I was craving the quite moments of study that I had grown to need in my life.  When I got the opportunity to attend the Saturday morning session of  LDS General Conference, I jumped at the chance.  Megan got four tickets from our bishop and she gave them to me, Brad, Marc, and Aly.  We had a great time.  The meeting was so good! I had chills everytime the choir sang.  It was amazing.  When President Monson spoke my heart broke for him.  I loved it when he said that to say he missed his wife did not convey his feelings enough.  I completely know how he feels.  I remember last fall feeling like the entire Women's meeting was specifically for me.  I still go back and listen to those talks when I need a little boost.

The next day was Zach's 14th birthday.  I can't believe he is that old!  It is also another sting because he will be ordained a teacher on Sunday and Trent should be here to do that.  Ouch.  I think that has weighed heavy on Zach's mind too.  If nothing else, Trent better be there in spirit.  

Last weekend we took all the kids but one and went to Idaho for Savannah's farewell.  She is Trent and my oldest niece.  She was receiving her endowment in the Rexburg Temple on Saturday and giving her farewell talk in church on Sunday.  Brad was a little nervous about being there "where Trent should be".  On the drive up there I had the thought come to me that during the session Brad and I would be asked to be the witness couple.  We have been to the temple together several times but have never wanted to act as the witness couple.  It is just one of those things that is a little weird for us.  I had my response planned.  I would politely say, "Things are complicated and we would rather not, thank you."  When I met Brad in the chapel he whispered to me that he had a feeling that we were going to be asked to act as the witness couple.  I kind of laughed and told him about my impression.  I wondered out loud if we were supposed to do it.  Not thirty seconds later the temple worker tapped me on the shoulder.  As he *loudly* asked us to be the witness couple I stared at him in disbelief.  My mouth would not form the words of my planned response.  I looked at Brad hoping he would save me.  He was as stunned as I was.  I finally reluctantly agreed.  We stood and walked to the front of the room.  As soon as I sat down I started to cry.  I stared straight ahead while tears slipped down my cheeks.  Travis, Trent's brother and Savannah's father, stood up and grabbed a handful of tissues for me.  I don't think he knew what to say and I wasn't sure either.  He just sat by me while I cried.  Pretty soon he had to get up for more tissues...for Trent's mom.  It was strange, I was not sure why I was crying because it was not a bad thing to act as the witness couple...just a tender one.  While I sat there I felt the warm peace of the spirit enter my body.  I knew Trent was there and was missing me too.  It was a bittersweet moment.  

I have been carefully deciding what things of Trent's should be given to whom.  I had a picture of the Idaho Falls Temple resting against the wall in my bedroom, waiting for me to find a place to put it in our new home. One day I walked by it and go the very distinct impression that I should give it to Trent's mom.  She and Trisha came to stay with us for one night last week and I took the opportunity to give it to her then.  I told her about my impression and that I knew that Trent wanted her to have that picture.  It had been an anniversary gift from Trent a few years ago.  It was an emotional moment but I wasn't sad or hesitant at all. I also knew that I wanted all of Trent's brothers, brothers-in-law, and both of our dads to have a tie of his.  I let our boys choose two ties each and then took the others to Idaho to give to Trent's family.  Everyone was grateful for the ties but when I gave one to Travis it was different.  I didn't let him choose as I had done for the others.  There was one specific tie that I wanted  Travis to have.  When I gave it to him he was instantly choking back emotion.  He thanked me and I walked away.  When I got to the doorway I looked back and watched him wipe the tears from his eyes.  I lost it.  I ran upstairs to try to get my emotions in check in private.  As soon as I turned around Brad was there.  He took one look at me and gathered me into his arms.  I am not sad to give Trent's things away.  It is just stuff and it is only useful if someone is using it.  Trent has no need for it anymore and I know that his family is grateful to have something of his.  I was just glad that Travis seemed to really appreciate it.  It is surreal doling out my husbands belongings but it needs to be done.  

On the way home we stopped in to see my grandparents.  My grandpa is bedridden and we don't know how much time he has left.  My grandma had just returned from a weekend spent with her daughters and the emotions in the room were quite tender.  I could tell they had really missed each other.  As my grandma lovingly rubbed my grandpa's leg I could see how much she loves him.  She is facing the same thing that I am, life without the love of her life.  It is not easy but Heavenly Father is mindful of us and blesses us beyond what I can comprehend.  Life is hard and we are asked to do hard things but it is really a matter of trusting in God and taking things one day at a time.  

Thursday, October 3, 2013

To Talk or Not to Talk

Grieving is a very hard task and lately it has landed squarely on Zach's shoulders.  He has had several "off" days and some that were completely disastrous.  One day shortly after my surgery he was not doing well so I had him stay home with me.  He camped out in my bed all day and tended to my every need.  It was nice to get to chat with him and share our feelings about life and all the twists and turns we are facing.  I know that all he wants is to have Trent back but he knows that this is all happening for a reason and he trusts Heavenly Father enough to believe that.  There have been a couple of times that I couldn't get to Zach when he needed me and all I could do was pray like crazy that Trent was with him to give him peace.  Yesterday I had to take him out of school for a couple of hours so he could regroup.  We went to breakfast at McDonalds and let the little kids mess around on the playplace. On more than one occasion I have asked Zach if he would like to talk to a counselor.  He says he would prefer to talk to me.  I am so glad that Zach feels like he can do that!  I promised him that as long as he will be open with me and tell me how he is feeling I won't take him for counseling.  I am hoping that between me and Trent we can cover all angles and help him heal.  

Last week I took Megan and Zach to their first Youth City Council Meeting for Providence.  This was a big deal for us because Trent served on the Providence City Council and loved it.  It was a lot of pressure and he took a lot of abuse from residents and even some neighbors.  He served to the best of his ability and always cast his votes in accordance with the law, no matter how unpopular it might have been.  The youth meeting was held in the council chambers where Trent served.  I remember going to watch him be sworn in and was having mixed emotions watching my children do the same thing in the same room.  Because I was familiar with the city employees and those who served on the council, I was gearing myself up for someone to say something about Trent to us.  To my surprise no one said a word.  I was greeted by only one employee and the others just looked at us...not saying a word.  I was not necessarily offended by this, just surprised.  It made me wonder if Trent had already been forgotten and that hurt!  However, what happened the next day changed my mind.

I received in the mail a card with no return address and no signature.  It was from one of the patients at the Huntsman Infusion Center that the kids and I visited on the one year mark of Trent's death.  We didn't leave our names on the goodies we left but the notes on them had Trent's full name and birth/death dates.  I guess this person had to do a little digging to find me.  The note read:

To the Rasmussen Family,

Thank you for your kindness and gift that you shared with me on Wednesday at the cancer center.

Your thoughtful act touched me so deeply.  It brightened my day!  It also showed me that you truly do have the best daddy in the world because he taught you to serve others.  There is nothing wiser than to follow the example of good parents, the ones on Earth and the ones in Heaven.  

Again, thank you, thank you for the gift of love and caring that you showed to me, a stranger, in honor of your father and husband.

When I read the note I burst into tears.  I was so glad that this person had enjoyed our efforts enough to write that sweet note.  Trent is not forgotten, he lives on in each of us and I will spend the rest of my life making sure that his influence is felt by as many people as I can.

Lately there have been some very unsettling things happening in my extended family.  I won't go into detail for the sake of privacy but some situations have hit very close to home for me.  I have found it very difficult to talk about those things and have been hesitant to reach out to my family members to love and support them.  It is not that I don't feel those things, it is just too real.  After my experience at the council meeting I realized what I was doing to them.  I was "not saying a word."  That can be just as painful as saying the wrong thing.  I have heard a million and one things that were not especially helpful and I had to dismiss them because I knew that they were not malicious.  But when you are met with silence it can come across as indifference and that cuts to the core.  So, I will be better at that.  I will extend myself even when it is uncomfortable.  I will tell those around me how much I love them and wish them happiness and healing.  I will remember how it felt when I was cradled in loving arms and allowed to vent and cry and rage and sob.  I will open my arms and heart to others in need of a place to land.  I will live my life so that Trent's passing was not in vain.