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.