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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.



Comments

  1. This is wonder Jensen. I look forward to reading it.

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  2. As a writer, I am humbled and awed by your willingness to write about something so essential, powerful, and personal.

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  3. You will inspire so many by your strength and love. You have already.

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  4. Beautifully written Jensen!! I am so sorry for the loss of your brothers and parents, they will always be cherished and never forgotten. I am one of those people who wasn't a close family friend but I did know all your grandfathers brothers and their kids. Melanie was my best friend growing up, and I use to babysit your dad and aunts. I know how close your extended family is and that you and your brother have a lot of support. I'm not sure if I could be of help but I want you to know I am here if you need anything. Keeping you in my heart and prayers and know we all love and care for you and your family. Brenda Powell and the Powell family. bren1676@msn.com

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  5. I'm one of those people who very very distantly knew you, as in I know someone who knows someone who knows someone... and your story brought me to tears. I cried on the phone with other friends who don't know you. Just know that you have a strong system of support behind you who love you. It's an amazing thing that the gospel does, creates this community. Your strength is an example to me and my prayers are with you and your brother.

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  6. I didn't know your family but your strength has inspired me and many others. I'm grateful that you shared this today. I am struggling myself, especially in the gospel and even though I'm embarrassed to say that, one thing I know for sure, is that Families Are Forever. And I know you'll see yours again. sending lots of prayers and thoughts your way.

    xoxo

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  7. Thank you Jensen. You are an amazing, selfless, young lady with great faith, courage and testimony! You inspire me- I hope someday I can grow up and be just like you!

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  9. Your missionary work continues through your blog. :) My daughter was Keegan's friend. He has been to my home and my daughter has been over at your home. It was hard to see her come to terms with the sudden loss, but she knows he is in a good place now and her faith has comforted her. I admire you for doing this! I look forward to seeing more from you.

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  10. I just read your blog and it was very inspiring. When I found out from Sister Ivins about your family, I remember lying in bed that not being able to sleep and thinking about you and what you might be feeling. My heart ached for you. I loved the funeral and learning so much about you family. I just wanted to stay there and have everyone keep telling more and more stories. You have an amazing support group, your extended family seems wonderful and will be there for you. Know that we are praying for you and your brother. May God continue to watch over you!! Hugs Becky Ivins

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  11. Jensen, What a wonderful example you are to all the world. You are a comfort to me, and I hope our family can be a comfort to you and to Ian if you need it. Thank you for being such a great friend to Julia - that gift if priceless! Keegan use to tease me as I put the Hymn numbers up each week at church - I will miss all your family, and your sweet dog also. I LOVE your testimony and your willingness to share your experience with the world.

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  12. Feeling a bit helpless because I know I can't give you what you want most and I wish with all my heart that I could! Love you Jensen ( and Ian) Jan Hatt

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  13. Jensen,

    I hope you and Ian had a spiritual homecoming. I wish that Sister Ivins and I could have been there to render support. You were in our thoughts and prayers.
    The other day I was watching the mormon messages and I came across this one and thought of you and Ian. You have probably seen it but when you said the following in your blog,
    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...
    I thought that this would be appropriate.

    https://www.lds.org/pages/mormon-messages#mountains-to-climb

    Keep the faith. We never know what our Heavenly Father has in store for us...all we can do is try to enjoy the journey until we all reunite again on the other side.

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  14. Dear Jensen,
    You wrote your blog for me. I just lost my husband after 25 years of marriage. I couldn't express how I have been feeling but you did that. When I read your blog I broke down in tears. I know how you have been feeling. Our loved ones want us to be happy, we will see them again. Thank you for helping me and God bless you.

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  16. You are such an inspiring person! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Congrats on your engagement!

    Naquel sister,

    Jen

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  17. I just discovered your blog from themomentswestand. Thank you for sharing!

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  18. I came across your story over the weekend at Time Out For Women in Idaho Falls. Your story is just so touching. I have not lost my siblings or my parents but I have lost three children due to Miscarriage and I turned to blogging as an outlet because it has been frustrating, but listening to you speak about the trial that you went through with your family sparked a connection with you and I told myself that I had to read your blog. I am so grateful and blessed to have been able to read your blog. Have faith in Christ as he will always be with you.

    From one blogger to another
    Erinn Hunt

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