Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Star of the Show

"If life were a movie, I'd be the star... haha that is how chaotic my life is..." - Me via a text message to one of my best friends.
And it's very true...

A little over a month has passed since everything has happened. It feels almost as if a lifetime has happened! So full! So much can happen in such little time...

And so many emotions can happen in such little time. It's kinda of crazy, really. 

I've been the angriest that I've ever been. I've been the saddest that I've ever been. I've been the numbest I've ever been. I've also been at some of my happiest points. 

Something interesting about after a tragedy happens; you CLING to the happy moments. You cling to anything that makes you feel good. You'll jot down notes to yourself, "This is good. This makes me happy." Because you don't want to lose that happiness. You want a taste of the familiar.

Really, I don't know what I need to say. I don't know if I'm doing this for myself, or maybe for someone else that needs it. I always have this hope that SOMETHING that I say will help someone get through today, and tomorrow, and the next day. I just hope that something will inspire me. That's why I haven't written in a while. Nothing really has...

And then, I realized, that the reason why that is, is because my priorities were not what they were before.

On my mission, I had the spirit with me constantly. I was up by 6:30, and I was diving into the scriptures by 8:00 in the A.M., searching for something, some inner meaning that I needed to know, something that my Father in Heaven needed me to know for that day. I was teaching people about the Savior, and of the plan of happiness that is for all of us. I was testifying in a language that I don't think I would have been able to learn without that spirit that I constantly sought for! I was surrounded! And not only that, but I taught people about that spirit, and that we needed to have it with us always!

"... Ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." -Moroni 12:6

Life became crazy when I came home.
Confusing.
Frustrating.
Tiring.

And sometimes, when life becomes like that, we slide a little. We are tossed and turned with "the mighty winds" and the "shafts in the whirlwind." And the "storm beats upon you" and it "drag[s] you down." (Helaman 5:12)

This has been the biggest trial of my faith. And I am weak. So very weak.

But, I am also strong.

There is power in the scriptures. So much power. And for a little bit, I forgot a little.

But, that's why there is repentance.

I started reading again. That spirit was back. It didn't necessarily leave me. He wouldn't do that. But, He was just merely waiting by the side, waiting patiently for me to invite Him back.

There is help from all sides. And we are entitled to that help, IF WE SO CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT.   
 
Even the star of the show needs her supporting roles to help her through the crazy times.

5 Blessings:
1. I have the scriptures in my life, most particularly the Book of Mormon.
2. I have awesome friends and family here to support me.
3. I have friends and family and a whole army of missionaries supporting me back in Vancouver, Washington.
4. I am comforted at times that I need it.
5. I can always have the hope and choice that tomorrow will be better than today.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Little bit of Chaos

My home is a disaster. (Mom would not be happy with me right now...) Letters, cards and packages from a variety of caring people, wanting to do anything that they can to help. A basketball signed by the BYU Provo basketball team. Things that have been gathered, sitting in the living room, waiting for voyage to D.I. Things that I want to save. Chocolates. Clothes.

Chaos. A little bit how I feel about life.

These past two weeks have been the slowest and yet the fastest that I've ever experienced in my life.

There are 5 steps in the grief:
Denial
Anger
Bargaining
Depression
Acceptance

Simple. Yet complicated. Or, my favorite word... Unfigureoutable. Why? Because we all grieve differently. Some people take control of the situation. Some people handle things well. If you're like me, you go on "shut-down, don't talk to me" mode.

Which may not be the best way to handle a funeral. Because I wanted nothing more than to just run away from the world and hide.

But, who's going to leave a young grieving woman and her brother alone, when they just lost their mother, father, and two brothers?




(Dang, why were you four so dang POPULAR?)

There's something about funerals that makes everyone come out of hiding, so that they can tell you how much they love you.

Condolences comes in many forms:
"I played basketball with your dad. He was the greatest!"
"Keegan was so sweet! He was going to be my first date!" (Ya... You and 20 others...)
"You're mom could make anyone laugh. I will miss her."
"Liam was going to pass the sacrament that Sunday, right? Well, at least he is in a happier place!"



Or, my favorite...

"Is there ANYTHING that we can do for you?"

Which, at that time, I think it is fair to consider that 3 days before, I flew in,  to pick out 4 caskets just 4 hours later. I had to make more decisions in my life than I ever had before in my entire life. I had never really had a moment to myself. My brother and I had been interviewed for KPVI News Channel 6, which had spread virally all over Facebook. I had just seen my family for one of the last times. There was  one thing I really wanted to ask...

"Can you bring my family back?" 



That is all I need right now.

The viewing was crowded. The funeral was overflowing...

And yet, even being amidst all the people, both that I knew, and didn't know, and regardless that I and my brother were the "stars of the show," I've never felt so alone in my life...

Which, made me think of another person. He spent his last night eating dinner with 12 of his dearest friends, knowing that one of them would betray him just hours later. He spent his last night in a garden, suffering and pleading with his Father in Heaven, asking for an easier way to fulfill his divine responsibility while here on this earth, yet willing to accept his Father's will, while his friends slept just a bit away, because they were too tired to stay up. His last day was spent among a crowd, even bigger than the one I was experiencing, but instead of consoling him and telling him that everything would be ok, they mocked him, and spit on him, and placed a crown of thorns on his head. His last few moments was spent on a cross, nails in his hands, wrists, and feet... And even for a few moments,  his Father had to leave him... So that he could experience what it would be like to be UTTERLY, COMPLETELY alone...

And he did it, so that at this precise moment of my life, I WOULDN'T be alone.
And he did it, so that not only would I not be alone, but I would be with Mom, Dad, Keegan, and Liam, along with Ian, again. And we will be a family forever...
We already ARE a family forever.

And after I realized that... Things were ok for a little bit. Not all the way fixed. But for now, it was ok.

My house is chaos. I haven't cleaned it yet. But that's ok. Because this week, I'm going to start organizing. And I'll take it one day at a time. And maybe I'll ask some people to help. I can't do it all alone.

Life isn't so bad when the Savior is near.

5 blessings:
-My family is a forever family.
-So many people want to support my brother and I.
-The Atonement is real.
-I don't have to figure out everything right now this minute.
-Peace is real.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A New Normal

Life is unfigureoutable. One minute, it's going one way. And then the next, your life is forever changed.

My name is Jensen Parrish. And my life has been changed.

I was a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving in the Washington, Vancouver Mission, speaking American Sign Language. I had been out for a year.
My brother, Ian Parrish, was also a missionary for the church, serving in the South Dakota, Rapid City Mission.
Our missions meant EVERYTHING to us. The growth that we developed there has truly changed our lives. The principles that we taught became firmly rooted in us. Little did we know, that our testimonies of those very principles would be put to the test, in the most unexpected way.

On February 23, 2014, just three days after my year mark of being a missionary, I received the news from my mission president and his dear wife, that my mother, my father, and 2 younger brothers had peacefully passed on from this life into the next. The cause of their deaths was carbon monoxide, due to a faulty water heater that failed and leaked.

I didn't believe it. Honestly, I thought it was a dream. I was shocked. I didn't know what I thought honestly. I just cried in their arms. Not very long. It didn't hit me.
That night, I didn't sleep. I didn't cry. I didn't really talk. I still didn't believe it.

Most missionaries come home to their families holding signs and balloons. My brother and I came home to families that had tears and condolences.

My first week home was the fastest and yet slowest week of my life.
I went from being a missionary, excited for Pday, to a missionary stuck in limbo, picking out the caskets that would forever hold my dear father, mother, and 2 younger brothers. I went from planning lessons, to planning a funeral for 4. I went from being restricted to hug certain people to all of sudden, being SWARMED by ANYONE who claimed to know my family, even if they hadn't seen them in years. I went from being lost in an army of missionaries, to being one of the most known and popular young women in the world.

You could say I was just a little bit overwhelmed...

There has been many tears, and many heartaches. And it's been sad.

But, this is not what this blog is about.

If there was only one thing that I learned from my mission, it is this: with every trial, there is about 5 blessings and miracles. At least. :)

I know that life goes on. And there's more to life than just life. And I want everyone to know, that my brother and I will be ok.
There will be hard times, but there will be good times too.

It's going to be a new kind of normal from here on out.