Monday, January 18, 2016

The Experimentation of my New Normal

It was kind of insane when I realized that what was once "my new normal" is now, honestly, is my "normal."

The things that used to throw me in for a loop are expected and habitual now; family gatherings aren't as hard as they used to be. I enjoy being with the in-laws. Being married is great, and Jacob and I are figuring out our own lives and our own traditions and what-nots. I don't dwell on the past nearly as much. I'm looking forward, and the future is honestly quite bright.

Which is why now, when I feel sad or frustrated, it kind of throws me off.

I realized this was happening a lot recently; I'd would randomly experience feelings of sadness, or numbness, or even anger, irritation, and frustration. The strange part was, I had no reason to. It always happened when things were ok, or when things were going smoothly. Suddenly, I couldn't stand the idea of being around people, so I'd hide in the back room when people came over and make myself busy, or take a nap. My husband would be so great and ask what was wrong and if I wanted to talk, but I couldn't talk because there wasn't anything for me to really talk about!

This began to bother me, and so I started analyzing myself. Why was I becoming angry? I thought, "Perhaps I'm in the anger phase of grief?" But after thinking about it, I realized that wasn't it. My parents and brothers are gone, but I know that I have come to terms with it. I don't miss them any less, but I don't dwell on it like I used to. Sure, there are moments when I let myself have a little cry, stand up, brush my shoulders and go on with my day, but those don't last as long as they used to.

No, this was something different. This was something that was trying to take away my happiness, take away my joy. And I was letting it.

I especially realized this on a Saturday a couple of weeks ago, when my husband and I decided it was time to deep clean our home. The extra bedroom has been a storage space for months, the living room was still festive from Christmas, and the dishes where piling.
We got to work.
So, I must confess. I inherited a trait from my mother: the "Do Not Tell Me How To Clean My House Trait Because I Want It Done My Way Because My Way Is The Cleanest Way And Get It Done Quickly And That's Just How It Is" trait. (Which, in her defense, it really was the cleanest way, which is why our house was almost always immaculate when people came over. They were always impressed. A lot of work went into the cleaning, so it's a good thing right?) This trait is something that I did not want to inherit, but I am a lot more like my mother than I realized.
As we cleaned, I felt more and more anxious and frustrated, because I wanted to hurry. My husband, on the other hand, is more like my dad, who likes to take his time to get the job done. Which is also a good thing, I know.
But the frustration began when we started working on the backroom. I wanted to get rid of things. He thought it would be wise to go through things.  (Which, turns out, he was right, but I would never admit that.)
Long story short, (too late) I became crabby. There was more to do, and I didn't want to clean and if we would just do it my way, things would get done! I was not pleasant to be around, and my husband kept being patient. He gave me my space, and I went about the back room, putting away the stuff that I felt belonged and getting rid of the things that I felt should be tossed. My irritation started boiling over to anger, and I let it build.
Until I decided to put away some item into a drawer that I never look into, and as I opened it, I saw something that wasn't supposed to be there: my birthday present.

My birthday is next week.

I stopped and stared at it. It was a game. One of the only games I really like. And he had ordered it for me. He came up and saw what I was looking at. He simply smiled a little and said, "Happy Birthday."

You could say my guilt exceeded my frustration.

I realized that I had been childish, and I felt so mad at myself. So I fell into a shut-down mode. I sat in the corner of the back room, on a bean-bag chair, pouting to myself, feeling so bad. I knew that he was so excited to give me this present on my birthday. (I know this because when it came in the Amazon box a week earlier, he told me, "I just want to give it to you RIGHT NOW! But... I can't. You will have to wait." Then, with a mischievous look in his eyes, he said, "What could it be?")

I told him that I needed to go for a drive, and I did, allowing all my thoughts to come back together.
As I thought, I realized that there was a pattern. Something would irk me, which led to irritation, which led to boiling over to anger, which led to irrational actions, (yelling, punching the table, storming away to the bedroom and shutting the door) which led to pride, which led to guilt for such irrational actions, which led to sadness.  

Two problems with this:
1. Joy and happiness is not included in this chain of events.
2. It was starting to become A New Normal.

And I didn't want it to become a normal.

Thus the experiment began: The Experimentation of My New Normal.

I started to pay attention to the thoughts that formed in my head during various times, whether they were happy thoughts, or sad thoughts, mad thoughts, or even anxious ones. I watched for where I was, what I was doing, who I was with. I did this for a couple of weeks.

I then had yet another realization.

I was no longer dwelling on the past. I wasn't dwelling on my hurt. I was trying to move forward. And because of that, the adversary was attacking my present. I felt that he was attacking me through my emotions and my thoughts.

Perhaps it is different for everyone, but I feel like there are plenty of people who may experience thoughts such as:

"I will never be as pretty as so-and-so..."
"I can't teach the same as this person..."
"I'll never be as smart as..."
"Clearly there is something wrong with me..."
"I wish I was as skinny as this person..."
"I wish I could gain weight..."
"This person is so much more talented..."
"I will never be as successful as so-and-so..."

But the interesting question is, how do these thoughts come into our heads?
I think it's not always us, but rather, we are influenced.

Why on earth would we think this way about ourselves? Why would we think negatively, or belittle ourselves?
What right do we have?
We owe it to ourselves to reach our potential.

And there is always going to be an opposing side trying to get us not to.

The Experimentation of My New Normal is still going on. I made a list for myself of things to do when I feel attacked by myself.
1. Breathe. Clear my mind.
2. Think. Is this really going to matter tomorrow?
3. If the answer to #2 is yes, how can I fix it?
4. Talk. Don't bottle up.

I'm still figuring out things. But hey, who am I to tell myself I can't accomplish what I want?



Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Readiest

I almost went to the cemetery today. It's Christmas, it's cold, and I miss them.

I don't know why, but I thought going to the cemetery would be... I don't know, therapeutic? Give me some closure? I haven't been there since well before I got married. Maybe staring at the headstones would make me feel better? Make me feel close to them? Make me feel like I'm with them?
I left school.

I got in the car, waited for the cars to pass, moving slowly so as to not slide on the slush. It was sunny today, so some of the snow was beginning to melt. Cars were going slightly slower. I followed them. I had to go around the block because of the way the car was parked, so the drive was taking longer than anticipated. I was alone.

I drove mindlessly, barely listening to the Christmas music that blared  "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year." My mind wasn't really on Christmas. Just family.

As I drove, my thinking relying more on my emotions, thinking about how I miss them, my rational side kicked in; the Bill Parrish part of me, I call it. My mind suddenly stopped thinking, "Maybe I'll feel better seeing their headstones." Instead it thought, "Will going to the cemetery really make you feel any better?" I realized it wouldn't, not really. It would just make it worse.

I turned the car around.
***

They aren't at the cemetery. Sure, their bodies may be. But they aren't there.
Why are we sad when people die? Physically, they are here. The bodies are here. But the spirit is not. The personality is not. The souls that we connect with, the hearts that we grow to love, the spirits that we are knit together with... they are not there, and that is what we miss. That is what we long for.

And when that spirit is called home, the person isn't here.

***

Humans are so interesting. Humans are conflicting. We say one thing, and mean the next. We want one thing, then we want the next thing. We want evidence. We want proof. We want to see.

And when someone that we love die, and they are placed into the ground, no longer physically in our lives, no longer physically in our sight, we become sad, depressed, angry, confused, irritated, irrational, conflicted, hurt. We experience so many emotions.
But why?
Because it's not just the person we miss. It's the soul.

We want that soul with us. We want to see them, touch them, hear them, smell them, experience life with them by our side. We want them here, holding our hands, wiping our tears, kissing our cheeks, squeezing us in their embrace.
And when the spirit leaves, there is only the body. And therefore, the soul is temporarily parted. The body is here, the spirit is there, and the soul is waiting.

I don't know how it all works, but when I think of those who pass on, I wonder if those spirits watch over us; that spirits of loved ones who pass through into another life watch us, perhaps like watching through another dimension that we are unable to see with our mortal eyes. I wouldn't be surprised if they walk besides us sometimes. Maybe not all the time, but when they can. I wonder if they watch us during our hardest moments, and our happiest moments.

I wonder if they miss us. I wonder if it's harder for them than it is for us. I wonder if they see us, wanting to comfort us, wanting to tell us, "Hey, it's ok! Really, if you could just see and understand what I see and understand, you wouldn't be so sad. You wouldn't be so hurt." I wonder if they cry when we cry, yearn to hold us in their arms, and hurt even more when they realize that because of the separation, we can't feel them. I wonder if it hurts for them to realize that due to mortality, we can't feel them, knowing full well that we only can comprehend and understand such physical contact. I wonder...

All the better reason to prepare. All the more reason to be that soul that is ready.

I can't see them today. Or tomorrow. Or for however long. But I know they were ready, some of the readiest people that I know. They are just waiting to be reunited.
I want my soul to be as lovely as theirs.

 “His soul sat up. It met me. Those kinds of souls always do - the best ones. The ones who rise up and say "I know who you are and I am ready. Not that I want to go, of course, but I will come." Those souls are always light because more of them have been put out."  - The Book Thief 

   

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Good Life

My Great Grandpa "Grape" is 99 years old. He has lived almost an entire century. And wow, a century is a long, long time. My Grandpa Grape is someone that I love and respect.

I remember being really little, and my family going over to Grandpa Grape's and Nonny's house. I remember having sleepovers there when I just wanted Nonny-Grandpa-Jensen time. The thing about Nonny and Grandpa Grape is, they always made you feel like you were the favorite grandchild. (I'm pretty sure every single one of us feel like we are the favorite.) Whenever I went over, Nonny made sure that she had a can of Dinty Moore stew for me to have for lunch, because she knew it was my favorite. That, and Minute Maid fruit punch. They had squirrels that lived in the trees of their yard, and they would take me out, peanuts in my little hands, and Grandpa would pick me up to place the peanuts along the gate for the squirrels to get later. Then, Grandpa Grape would take me out to have Grandpa Grape-Jensen time while Nonny did her business around the house. Grandpa would take me on a walk around the block, or the park down the street, or every once in a special while, miniature golfing.

Years pass. Aging happens. Nonny fell down the stairs one day, and she was never the same. At first, it was just an infection. Eventually, it turned into dementia. Nonny and Grandpa Grape moved out of there home they have always lived in since they moved to Pocatello, and moved into a little apartment with no stairs. Nonny became worse, and had to be moved to the retirement home. Grandpa Grape lived with his daughter, my grandmother, Granna. For the next couple of years, everyday, without fail, the first thing Grandpa Grape would do in the morning would get himself ready for the day and drive down to be with Nonny, and there he would stay all day in his chair, to be with his love, while she laid in a bed. We would come and visit weekly, and there was never a time when my family would go that Grandpa was not there.

Nonny died February 22, 2012.

Grandpa "Grape" is 99 years old. That's almost a century of living. That's three years without his love. When I go over to visit him, I like to ask him what his life was like. He still has a witty mind. I asked him what made him love Nonny. He smiled and said, "She was the prettiest girl in the dancing hall."

Grandpa Grape had to go the hospital last week. My husband and I went over to visit him with Granna and her husband, Bill Al. A young nurse came in to help him with some therapy. She was a sweet thing, asking him questions while they worked with his arms. She asked him about Nonny, referring to her as "his wife." He smiled and told her briefly about their marriage, and that she passed away about three years ago. The nurse responded, "I just got engaged. Do you have any good advice for me?"

I think the rest of us in the room were slightly curious what he was going to say. I was at least. He was married a majority of his life. He gave up athletic scholarships to marry her. He and she went through the Great Depression together. They moved several times together. What was the secret.

His answer was simple. "Oh, just live a good life."

...

Just live a good life. A good life? It struck into my heart, and for the rest of the day, and really the week, it was on my mind. What is a good life?

Perhaps the good life is simply to live and love and sacrifice. Perhaps living a good life is putting others' needs before your own. We live in a world of defenses and offenses, a time of "If it doesn't fit my needs, or satisfies my desires, it's bad." We live in a world of "Good Guy vs. Bad Guy."

But what if we stopped? What if we changed?

What if we stopped worrying about ourselves and started being more concerned about others? On a personal level? What if instead of pointing fingers, we opened our arms? What if we accepted? I'm not saying always agree. There is a huge difference between accepting someone and agreeing with someone.

What if we sacrificed something we want for something better? What if we sacrificed ourselves for someone else? That may not mean your mortal life, but something of value, like time?

I think that it is in our spiritual nature to want to help others. If we were to look into the very depths of ourselves, and find the hidden treasure that is our gift for others, we would make a difference in the world. When we are honest with ourselves, understanding that not everything makes sense, and not everything may seem fair, but there is a purpose in life. That purpose is to live, and to do good.

With everything that have been happening in the world, Paris, Kenya... it's easy to be afraid. It's easy to be hurt. It's easy to think, "This isn't fair. This isn't right." We change our profiles pictures to show the flag. We share Facebook posts of the various news. We try to show our support.

I think that's great. But maybe we could do more.

Living the good life is living with love, compassion. Living the good life is to be the change you want to see in the world, especially during times like these. Being the good in this world is by starting small, and improving, not being stagnant.

We all have the power to change things. We have been given that gift.

Start small. Do something to make a change.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Daily Affirmation

I still vividly remember the night that I found out. I can tell you where I was, what I was doing, what I was wearing.
(New apartment, on the living room couch, old EFY T-shirt and pink cotton pants. I had just finished saying a prayer.)

I vividly remember the looks on my "mission parents'" faces. When I think about President's tight hug, I remember how crushing it felt, him not wanting to let me go, not wanting to be the one to tell me that my parents and brothers were gone. I remember it took him a little while to say it, and how it crushed him, and his wife. I remember my companion and the Hermanas were also in the living room sitting on the floor in their pajamas, shocked, speechless, not knowing if they should say anything. I remember that the only light in the room was the bright light coming from the open kitchen.

I remember saying, "Give me a minute," and running into my room, falling on my knees at my bed, crying, saying "Why, God? What did I do wrong?" My companion came into my room, knelt beside me, and called me by my real name.

Jensen, you didn't do anything wrong. 

Everything after that is a blur to me. I have flashbulb memories, like how the next morning, the other two ASL sisters, one of which is my best friend, came to the mission home and hugged me so tight, I couldn't breathe. I remember my mission "baby" (who I trained) bought my a pillow pet to have and to hold and to cuddle, because she didn't know what else she could do.

I still have that pillow, by the way. It's a brown puppy. I cuddled and held that pillow for months afterwards.

I remember FaceBook had photos and images of my parents and brothers messages galore, FaceBook posts galore, emails galore.

One email was from Mom from the week before. I had missed it before I signed off.
That hurt the most.

I remember seeing Ian at the airport, for the first time in 18 months. I remember sitting on the plane, and all the eyes that glanced at us, some of them knowing exactly who we were, some of them thinking that they knew. The woman sitting behind us asked, "Are you the missionaries who..." then started to cry and couldn't finish. Some people looked at us from time to time all the way back to Pocatello.

And when I say all the way back, it was only 45 minutes; the longest 45 minutes of my life.

I remember landing. I remember my brother putting his arm around me. No words were needed. We stood up, arm around each other, and walked side by side off the plane. I remember seeing my extended family, all who were close. I remember seeing my bishop, my stake president. And tears.

Not Mom, or Dad, or Keegan or Liam.

I remember.
But most of all, I remember feeling
Overwhelmed.
Unprepared.
So small.
So scared.
Strong.
Weak.
Numb.
Unsure.

I remember thinking...
I can't do this. 
I just can't.

It's been 20 months.

Overtime, I've learned a truth.  Seeing them when I got home is not the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. Shutting the caskets is not the hardest thing I've done in my life. Even burying them is not the hardest thing I've done in my life.

The hardest thing I've ever had to do even up until now, and quite possibly will be for the rest of my life is living without them. That is the hard part.
The hardest part isn't necessarily that I don't see them everyday. Even if they were still here, I probably wouldn't. The hardest part is that I can't see them here, and oh, how I want to see them.
The hardest part is not knowing. Even if I could have a time frame, like Heavenly Father saying, "Hey Jens, I need them now, I have a work for them to do. But when you are 83 years old, your time will come and it will all be ok." Even that would be better than not knowing.
The hardest part is learning to accept things exactly as they are. The hardest part is still feeling even slightly out of place at family "get togethers." The hardest part is dealing with the anxiety and nervous breakdowns, and retraining my brain to be happy. The hardest part... is subconscious mourning.

I'm not talking about just mourning as in wearing black all the time and crying out loud and publicly. I think mourning is deeper than that.
Mourning is hurting.
Mourning is feeling.

To all of you that are fighting your battles, whatever they are...
To all of you hurting...
To all of you struggling, not knowing what to do, where to go, who to trust...

You are strong. You are created to do hard things. And you strengthen me everyday.
Look how far you've come. You're still here, aren't you? You're still breathing, aren't you? You're still standing, aren't you? You're still trying, aren't you?
You are a fighter. A conqueror. No matter how low you feel or how insecure you are.
You conquer by being a mother, a father, a friend, a teacher. You conquer mourning by loving, accepting, trying. You conquer by standing along with someone, anyone.
Just by stepping forward, you conquer.

Keep going. Don't quit.

I remember thinking I can't do this. I just can't.
But I did, and I'm still doing it. Still learning, still growing. And there has been help along the way.

I'm absolutely am not perfect. I hope this doesn't come across that way. I have days when I am just plain mad, or sad, or lazy, or forgetful, or ignorant.
And then, sometimes I become overwhelmed, wanting to be progressing, comparing myself to others, wishing I was as patient, or caring, or selfless as them.

But I'm stepping forward.
During my mission, one of my leaders once said, "I may not be perfect, and I may not know exactly where I stand, but I'm moving up. And that's all that really matters."
It's so true.
Keep it up.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Power of Words

It's been a while. Hello again.

Sometimes, I just need to write. I want to write, because I think words are beautiful. I want to write, because I want to create. I want to write, because maybe, just maybe, my thoughts can be powerful one day.

But, what happens when words fail me?
Because, sometimes that happen. Sometimes, feelings are just so powerful, so passionate, so painful, so wonderful, it becomes impossible to describe.

Feelings are quite something. They sneak up on you.
I still think about Mom, Dad, Keegs and Liam everyday, but now, it's not always as painful. They don't control my thoughts. Their memories are there, and they are beautiful. I can say things like, "Oh, Keegan and Liam would LOVE the new Wellness Center," and I won't burst into tears. I am growing up. I am moving along everyday, and it is beautiful. I have a wonderful husband, and wonderful family and friends, and life is beautiful.

And then, sometimes, all I have to do is something simple. Something as simple as playing the piano, and I remember those times when Dad would come stand next to me, studying my fingers hit the keys, perplexed at my ability to play the keys while staring at a piece of music. Sometimes, if he knew the song, he would try to sing along. The memory is so vivid, so alive, that sometimes, it's almost like I can feel him.
And it's amazing how the smallest thing like that, something so simple, makes me tear up a little. Sometimes, even a lot. And no word can describe the feeling.

I don't want to write to say "Woe is me" or "Let's look back on the past and remember how amazing they were." I don't want to continue writing about pain, because that just causes more pain and more hurt and more reminding. And I don't want that. Nobody does.

And so, I stopped. I stopped writing because I didn't know what else to write about. What do you write about when you feel like you've said it all, and nothing is really that different? What do I say?

But maybe it's ok to still write about the simple things. It's ok to write about happy things. I don't need to dwell on sadness. Yes, they are gone, and yes, sometimes, once in a while, I will still have a good cry and let it out. But, those are rare.

It's time to focus on good things. Happy things. Things that reminded me of them. Things that will bring me closer to them.

I've missed writing, because it was words that comforted me. It was words that sometimes I felt, even saved me; words from family and friends, words from the scriptures, words from blessings, words from writing.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

I Believe in Santa Claus

I was on my dad's shoulders. It was a cold night on Christmas Eve, back when Santa Claus was still real. We had just finished at Grandma's house. (For as long as I can remember, every Christmas Eve, Santa came to Grandma's and left us something. It was there that we would also give our gifts to each other within the extended family. I always loved Christmas Eve.)

I was admiring some present I got, when Daddy said, "Jensen! Look at the sky! Do you see him?"
I looked up, trying to see. There it was... a flashing red light! Surely, that could only mean one thing...
"RUDOLF!"
My dad chuckled, "Yes, you're right! It's Rudolf! That means we have to hurry so that you can go to bed! We don't want to be late for when Santa comes!"

I remember telling Ian to hurry up, and telling Mom and Dad to hurry to get us home! (Keegan and Liam didn't exist yet.) As soon as I got home, I got into my new Christmas pajamas, brushed my teeth, made sure that there were some cookies and milk for Santa, and hopped right in bed! It took me some time, but eventually, the adrenaline wore off, and I drifted off to sleep.

The next morning, we saw that Santa came! There were presents for us to open, and music for us to listen to. I went and checked Santa's plate. He had eaten all the cookies and drank all the milk.

***  

A couple nights ago, we were parked in our car, waiting for Jake's brother to come out of his apartment. We were going to go to the store. As we were waiting, I looked out the front window. There it was: a flashing red light from those high towers. I smiled a little. The memory broke through and I remembered that cold night on my dad's strong shoulders.

My husband looked at me and smiled. "Hey you, where are you right now?" Now, he just knows. 
I smiled a little and simply said, "During Christmas, Dad used to tell me that those flashing lights was Rudolph. Back in the days of Santa Claus."
He teased me a little, and asked, "What? You don't believe in Santa?"

I was quiet for a little bit. My response surprised even me. "Well, of course I believe in Santa. Santa was my dad." 
And then the tears came.

***

This year, I've been reading from the New Testament. I really wanted to focus my studies on the life and ministry of the Savior. I want to know who he was, not just as the Son of God, but what was his personality like? Was he fun? Serious? Stern? I think (from my perspective) that he was a little bit of everything. 

As I was reading, there was one particular story that stood out to me, and has been on my mind for the last couple of weeks. I refer to the account in Mark 9, though it is told in the other 4 Gospels as well.

Jesus is with his disciples, and a great multitude of people are there, most likely either to listen to him teach or to ask for healing, (it doesn't specify in the scriptures.) As he is there, a man comes through, holding his young son, and says,

"Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit. And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not."
He brings his son to Christ, the son still gnashing and foaming. Christ then asks, "How long is it ago since this came unto him?
The father responds, "Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us."
To which Christ says, "If thous canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth."

Now, I don't know exactly how this really played out. I don't know how the father sounded, and I don't know what he was thinking. But when he responds to the Savior, it hit me. In tears, he straightway said, "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief."

I know this story could have happened numerous ways. I've heard of different interpretations, and seen different reenactments. When I read this story, though, the way that I saw it was this: I wonder if the father, after years of trying to protect his son, maybe feeling like he failed, maybe feeling like it was a punishment for something that he has done... I wonder if he was holding him close, tears streaming down his face, and begging, "LORD! There are so many things that I believe! I have struggled for years, and it has been so, so hard! I've wanted to give up, but I just can't! He is my child, my only child and I love him so much! There are things that I may struggle with, but I don't want to let faith go! Lord, if I didn't believe, I wouldn't be here. So please, strengthen what I do know, and help me with what I don't know. Help thou my unbelief!"

And after that, the Savior commands the spirit to come out of the child.

Why did the Savior say that to the father? Why didn't he just perform the miracle when the father asked? I wonder, maybe, since he does know us better, he asked the father so that the father could come to terms with himself. Maybe the father was struggling with his testimony. Or maybe it was that he needed to really know for himself if he had the faith enough for the Savior to be able to perform this miracle, the last hope, this father desperately needed. Maybe it was a test.

For whatever reason that was, I'm grateful he did. Because centuries later, I read this story, and it hit me.

There are days that are happy and amazing. There are days when I am overflowing with gratitude for my Savior and for my Father in Heaven and for this amazing plan. I feel elated, as if I could fly, that one day that I will see my family again, and that we are still a family, and that our family will continue to grow, and it will be a joyous wonderful occasion.

And then there are days that I am so heavy. I feel the heaviness of not having my own father or mother to guide me through things. There are days that even though I know and understand that I am not alone, there is still a part of me that feels isolated. I find myself missing them so much, that I just feel the need to have a day and allow the sadness to do its thing, then leave.

And when those moments come, sometimes I wonder... "Am I ungrateful? Am I losing faith? I already know everything will be ok... so why do I feel this way?"

Then, there are stories like these; stories of real people that experience anguish and sadness, even though they have faith. A story about a father's love so strong, that he held on to the belief that one day, his son would be healed. A story about (in my opinion) a father who understood and knew that he was not perfect, and that he didn't know everything that there was to know... But he did have the faith to know that Christ would help him with his doubts, or unbelief.

Reading that brought me so much comfort and joy, knowing that one day, I can have a full knowledge if I am willing to rely on faith until that day, and knowing that I don't have to know everything right now... is a wonderful feeling...

***

There will still be triggers, like memories of believing in Santa Claus while being on Dad's shoulders. And when those memories happen, I will cherish them. I'll probably cry, because I just want those times back.
But the feelings are still alive, and they are still real.

I'll remember to be grateful for those feelings. The feelings are a result of love. 
I'll remember to be grateful for now, because I don't need to worry about knowing everything now. 
I'll remember to look forward, and not back.  



Way back then :) 


The last hug I gave my Daddy before I entered the MTC.



I am so blessed to be raised by 2 of the Lord's strongest spirits. :) 




Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A post for a Brother

In about a week, it will have been a year since I should have returned from my mission.

Which means it's been about 18 months since the accident.

Mind blown...

***

How am I doing? 
Fine, I guess.
Good. 
Excellent.
Grand.
Isn't that what I am supposed to say? 

***

Nobody likes a "Debbie Downer." But what about a "Rebecca Realist?" Where is that fine line? 


***

How am I doing?
Fine, I guess.
Today is hard.
Good!
So tired. So so tired...
Excellent!
Struggling, but it's just a phase. It will pass.
Grand!
It has to.
Right?

***

Fact: it's time to move on.
I know. I know that.
And I have. For the most part. But there are still triggers. Stupid blasted triggers. They like to hide and shoot at me from out of nowhere. Pretty normal though. It's not even new anymore.
But, they still surprise me.
Like this morning when I was triggered simply because of a phone call. Or  it may be boredom, not doing anything for X amount of hours can put me over the age. 
Or maybe it's just plain depression. That's the only explanation that I can think of.

***
Last night, I couldn't help myself. I got on Keegan's Facebook page.
It was a hard night. Work had not gone as well as planned, which is all part of life, I know. But man, sometimes people are just heartless.
I stared at his picture.
I don't know why I did it. But I started typing him a message on his wall. Maybe I just needed to get things out of me, vent my frustrations. For whatever reason, I just wanted to talk to my brother. I wanted to talk to him about being married. I wanted to talk about work. I wanted to know what he's been up to. Can he still play basketball in heaven? Or date? Or do gymnastics? I just wanted to have a conversation, like we used to.

Mostly though, I wanted to know his secret.
How was it he was always so happy?

How did you do it, Keegs? 

I typed and typed. I typed until I couldn't anymore. I told him everything I was feeling. I wrote it like a letter. I finished and stared.
...
It's not like he's going to read this. 
...
I know it's been 18 months. I know it's been a while. But when it's you, it doesn't matter how much time has passed. The feeling will sometimes last longer than desired. Sometimes, it kicks you in the gut.

I wanted to send it in a private message.
There wasn't any option of that.
I deleted the message.

***

I wonder what it was like for Jesus's disciples. What was it like when their best friend was gone? Where could they turn to? I'm sure they were more than devastated. It had to have been scarring...

I wonder what it was like when he appeared to them again. I wonder what that feeling is like; to see one that you loved so much who have died to come back and see you, and speak to you.

I wonder what it was like even after he was gone. Did it still hurt, even though they knew where he was? Was it still hard even though they knew that his purpose was done? 

Was it hard knowing that his purpose of living was to die? For them? For all

What was it like when the person who literally had ALL the answers was gone? What was it like when they just wanted to talk to their friend, their leader, their brother, but he couldn't physically speak to them? 

How did they go on?
What was their secret? 

Did they have gut-kicking moments? Did they still grieve? Did they still experience heartache? 

I have a hard time believing that they didn't have some moments like that. Maybe that's just me though. But, they were still human, right? Heroes, but human.

Did it feel like how I feel? 
I can only assume it was.

***

So maybe he couldn't read my post. I won't lie and say that's ok. 
But I know that someday... someday it will be. 
One day, we will talk face to face again. 
I'm sure there will be lots to talk about by then.