Sunday, December 18, 2011

Bits and pieces

Dear sweet Mikkie,

The subject of death has been on my mind a lot lately.... a pretty common topic on mind since you died. Most recently though because of quite a few things going on like your grandparents surviving what could have been a fatal car crash, some friends rushed to hospital or sick with untreatable illness, Faith and I also a gnat's eyebrow from getting smashed into (twice), dad having breathing problems with asthma..... it's all been a little overwhelming. Yet a continuous reminder how Precious life is, how fragile and short it is! At times like this I tend to experience major anxiety and I freak myself out by imagining the worst possible case scenarios for everything. Usually I'd be able to talk myself out of it, but now when a worst case scenario has actually happened, I know that anything can happen. What does this all lead me to? Feeling what I hate most... utterly helpless. I have no control over life and I know it, so I fall to my knees in prayer and first vent out loud to God all my frustrations, while sobbing with desperation. Then I ask what to do, because I never know what to do, I'm always in need of His help. I sit there in silence until I can sob no longer and my tears dry up. I usually always end up feeling good after, as if God heard every word and understands my pain and was there to comfort me. I may not get answers right then but I always receive a feeling of peace and feel like I can take on life again. I'm so grateful for that. I think I would probably go insane if I didn't have God to turn to. He is always there to my rescue.

It's been interesting hearing Faith bring up your accident a lot more lately. Out of nowhere, when we're just sitting at home or driving she'll start talking about it. How she doesn't want to go by pools, or else she "will drown and die like Mikkie", and how Gramma Harper was holding her to keep her safe from the pool and she saw me and daddy crying by the blue pool. It's just interesting the way she describes things and I try to help her express herself and make her feel comfortable about sharing her feelings. It's a good thing that she's coming out with it, even though it's in bits and pieces and over a long period of time. She was playing 'House' the other day with a friend and told me she was the mommy and he was the daddy and their baby and kid died. I didn't quite know what to say. That's normal to her, to have a child die in the family... what a sad reality that is for a child to live with. I hope I'm dealing with all this in the right way. I want to encourage her to talk about things, but there's been a few times where I feel maybe I talk about it too much that she acts uninterested and talks about something else. She is such a sweetheart and it melts and breaks my heart every time she talks about you. She really loves and misses you so much, Mikkie. As do I.

Christmas is coming up and is never an easy time. Last year was downright awful and depressing, I'm surprised I even survived it. This year is better, but it's still hard to look up and see your stocking, knowing that it will not be used. Last week your grampa, gramma, faith and I went to your grave and had a good cry. I needed a good cry, I had been holding it in for a bit. We had gone to see The Forgotten Carols a few days before and it was great! I didn't at all expect though, for him to sing his song "We can be together forever someday" at the end. When I heard the first few notes, a feeling of dread came to me, I knew exactly what song it was and I was not prepared for it. After they had sung the chorus a few times, he asked each of us to think of someone who couldn't be there that night whether they were overseas in Afghanistan or elsewhere or on the other side of the veil... and asked us to think of them while singing it. I of course immediately thought of you and I tried so hard not to lose control right there. My lips were sore after from biting them so hard, it took every last bit of energy I had to not burst into hysterics. Oh man, just thinking about it brings back the feelings. So it was since that night that I had been holding in my feelings.

How do you like your decorated grave? My favorite is the mini tree with star lights, they are perfect! Every time we go to visit your grave, I always think how surreal it all feels. That's the best way I can describe it, it is all so surreal and doesn't feel real. At the same time, it does, my pain and aching heart remind me of that.

I sure love you my sweet girl! I can't believe Christmas is coming up this weekend... Faith is extremely excited. If it weren't for her, it would be difficult for me to find excitement. She brightens things up around here, I just love her so very much! What a blessing each of you are to me. Truly, there is nothing more I want than to be with my family for Christmas. Stuff and things have no comparison to it. I will obviously have to settle with you being there in spirit, but as long as you are... :) it will be a great Christmas. Oh, and P.S. PLEASE tell your brother to hurry up and get here!! We are extremely anxious to see him!! It would be the best Christmas gift ever :) So, before Christmas would be nice..... not like you are in control, but maybe pass this along.... just sayin' :)

With much love,

Mama
Thursday, December 1, 2011

Gratefuls W-Z

Dear Mikkie,

It's taken me long enough to finish this up! I got caught up in a nice long, relaxing Thanksgiving weekend with daddy and Faith. I love spending time with them. We went to Temple Square on Sunday to see the Christmas lights and every time we go there I think of the last time we went with you, just before we left for Bear Lake. I'm so glad we went, such precious pictures, videos and memories we got from it.

W- I'm grateful for Weather... the four seasons. Even though for a few years now it feels like there's only been 2 or 3 seasons.. I love each season and the change of weather, yes even the freezing cold...mainly because I love the snow! The land looks like a totally different place when it's covered in blankets of fluffy white snow.

X- I'm grateful for.... because this is a more tricky word, I'm going to improvise. I'm grateful for fede eX. :) there's the x. What a cool service to be able to have something delivered overnight if you need to.

Y- I'm grateful for Yards. I like having our own little space, and I even like to work in the yard and make it look beautiful, it's a good feeling :)

Z- I'm grateful for Zip lock bags. They are such a great convenience to me and make life that much easier :)

I love you my little girl!

Love,

Mama
Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Third Birthday

My sweet Mikayla,

I don't know why I've taken so long to write about this. Almost as hard as planning your birthday. I've never had such trouble planning a party before but this time it was like one mental block after another, the only thing I could think of was the theme being Stars, going along with "I am like a Star shining brightly". I was getting very discouraged because I wanted to make it a great party, where everyone would enjoy themselves while focusing on you, it just seemed overwhelming. I've never been able to live it down how I didn't throw you a big birthday on your first and only birthday here. I thought I would have another chance to do it the next year. I never should've waited.
So I kept thinking and thinking, and finally after talking with a few people they mentioned maybe you were trying to tell me something, to just keep it simple. How could I do that? I owe you a big party, but that's not what is important to you. I felt like that was the answer, so I just had family over for cake and ice cream where I had all your cousins help blow out your candles. It was sweet. I then shared what I believe your birthday wish would be:
There's a time for everything, a time to mourn which was more for August 14; and there's a time to celebrate which is what your birthday is about, celebrating your life and the time we had with you. I believe you wanted us to laugh and be happy. You were one of the most giggly, smiley, happy people I knew and if you were here you would have most definitely been laughing with that cute lil raspy voice of yours :).

We had your movie playing on the tv (compilation of all home videos, edited, with you in it) which was my favorite thing, I love watching that and am SO grateful we took all those videos of you! And the kids... and actually most adults were entertained with all the balloons floating around.

it was a simple, yet beautiful party. I believe you were there and could see you having the time of your life with all the balloons. Of course I cried throughout the day, it's only natural to miss your sweet presence on your special day, but even then I still felt peace and comfort the whole day. It was just a really nice day. I'm grateful for those who came to help celebrate you, you have so many people who love you!

Earlier that day, daddy. faith and I and some of my family visited your grave with beautiful flowers and 3 balloons that Faith picked out :) 3 because that's how old you would've been. I love my visits to your grave, and hope it is and continues to be a good memory for Faith. We talked about you together, which helps, I think she's still not sure how to express herself sometimes especially regarding you and what happened. Little things come out here and there and I take the opportunity to explain or just talk about things with her. She's an angel just as you are. Did I tell you that she made sure to tell me at least 5 times how much you love your cake? I made a purple glittery star cake and as I was frosting it she kept saying, "Oh, Mikkie really loves her cake, mom!" It made me feel good. I hope you enjoyed the whole day as I did.

Thank you for coming into our family and for filling our lives with so much joy, we had some great times! Thanks for continuing to be my angel, I love you so much!

Love,

Mama

Gratefuls Q-V

Sweet baby of mine,

Here I go on to the next bunch of gratefuls :)

Q- I'm grateful for Quiet moments. Life is always so full of noise and distractions, it's nice to have those quiet, peaceful moments where you can think and ponder,

R- I'm grateful for Raspberries. Raspberry anything I just love!

S- I'm grateful for Senses. All 5 of them. I'm so grateful to be able to see, hear, smell, taste and touch. I wouldn't want to be without any of them.

T- I'm grateful for Time. The time that we have is very short. It seems like time takes forever at the moment but in retrospect you realize it passed in the blink of an eye. Time is very precious.

U- I'm grateful for Unity that I feel in our marriage and our families. We're blessed to both have such great families and that we get along so well.

V- I'm grateful for Vacations. It's so nice to have occasional vacations to unwind and escape real life for a bit. I usually come back feeling refreshed and ready to take on life again, it's just nice to have those occasional breaks :)

Thanksgiving is in 2 days and I'm so looking forward to it! I love long weekends like this and that we will have more time with your daddy. I'm cooking the turkey, wish me luck, I hope I don't totally ruin our meal! :)

I love and miss you, Mikkie! You will most definitely be in our thoughts as we go through yet another holiday without you.

Til next time...

Love,

Mama
Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gratefuls M-P

Dear Mikkie,

I've been meaning to get around to writing about your birthday, which was almost a week ago already, just hasn't happened yet. My next letter will be it though, I have some things to talk to you about.

Continuing on with gratefuls:

M- I'm grateful for (Faith blurted out Mikkie :) that's a given though and goes with Family :) I'm grateful for Modern technology. They have come a long way with things and it's amazing some of the things they can do nowadays to help people.

N- I'm grateful for Nail polish. I hardly ever am without painted nails, at least toes. If we're gonna have weird looking things like feet, I'm glad we have some polish to pretty them up! Too bad for guys :)

O- I'm grateful for Open spaces. The city is fun to visit and all and has most the shopping, but there's something about wide open spaces that makes me feel peaceful. That's one reason that I love about where we live, a little bit of Urban, but a whole lot more Rural areas. Just gorgeous and peaceful!

P- I'm grateful for Police. Even though I don't like them when they give me tickets :) A majority of them are decent, courageous men/women striving to keep peace and safety. It would be hard to do what they do, but somebody's gotta do it, so I'm glad they are willing.

Until next time, sweet girl.....

Love,

Mama
Saturday, November 12, 2011

Gratitude days I-L

Sweet Mikkie,

I knew I wasn't going to be able to do this every day, it's more practical to do a few days at once.
So here's my days I, J, K,L.

I- I'm grateful for Ice Cream. I don't know if I inherited it from my dad or what, but I LOVE ice cream! In particular, Rocky Road, Cookies & Cream, Peppermint, Double Fudge Brownie, and Triple Raspberry Temptation (which sadly is no longer available- BOO!)

J- I'm grateful for Journals. I love being able to look back and read how I was feeling at certain times, or things that I learned, etc. I'm especially grateful for the separate journal I kept of you, Mikkie, with all the details recorded and things that I probably wouldn't remember if it wasn't written down. Journals, along with pictures and videos, are priceless.

K- I'm grateful for Knowledge. Our brains are amazing and capable of so much. I'm grateful for all the useful knowledge I've acquired over the years and for the most part, my brain can recollect it at a moment's notice... sometimes it takes over night to remember something, but your brain is always working on solving it. Amazing. :)

L- I'm grateful for Love. This world would be a scary place without love. Love for everyone, not just ourselves and our loved ones, but all our fellow brothers and sisters all over the world. Love makes the world go round, right? :)

I'm really loving doing this, keeps me focused on positive things.

I love you Mikkie!

Love,

Mama
Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Support

Sweet Mikayla,

I've been noticing more and more over the years, especially this past year how important it is to support people. It makes me feel important and like people care when they are there to support. Some of the greatest examples to me from my very first day here has been my parents. I can't think of one recital, concert, game, birthday, or other special occasions that they've missed. They've been a constant support to me and my whole family, all 6 of us kids, and continue to do so. As I get older, I look back and realize even more the examples they've set and the lessons I've learned from them. Maybe that's one of the reasons our family is so close because we've been shown at a young age to be there for each other. I remember all the things I've gone to see my siblings in at school or church or elsewhere. I definitely think there's a feeling of importance being felt. I know I do.

I'm so grateful for people who have and continue to support me and my family, through my whole life but especially throughout this last year. As I think back to last August and yes, of course I remember that excruciating pain but I also remember how much in awe I was at the compassion and support of people. So many people! Your daddy and I commented several times that we just couldn't believe the generosity and sympathy from people. We were and still are greatly touched by the bounteous support. I knew a majority of that would fade away as time went on, life continues on and everyone has schedules and a life to attend to. But I'm still being touched by spontaneous reaching-out and comfort people are still giving. I know that there are some great and very valuable lessons to be learned from all this grief, even some that cannot be learned any other way, but one of the lessons that I've been most impacted by is Support. Those who have been there for us especially on the hardest of days has meant more to me than anything else one could say or do, just showing up and being there, not having to say or do anything, means a lot. I realize there are situations which can't allow some to be here physically, and their thoughts are greatly appreciated. I've noticed a few times, not just at my events but others, when people show up briefly then need to leave. The fact that they took the time to show up and show their support touched me.

With all these great examples, so many just within our family, it's inspiring me to be a better support. I admit I haven't been the best I could be, I could make a bigger effort to be there more for others. So here's a renewed commitment to being a better support to others. I hate to cancel on people, it's not what I like to do, I like to keep commitments, but if it's between a 'better' and 'best' situation, I would choose the most important one. So many things to do, so many choices to make, but I pray I may be blessed to make the most important ones.

One of the most important decisions I made is to marry your daddy in the Temple for time and all eternity and to have Faith, you and your little brother. And I will never forget those who showed their love and support during those times and even now as we go through just as important, not as happy, but still important times.

I'm nervously looking forward to your birthday. Your birth is more of a celebration than your death...at least on this side of the veil, it's most likely swapped over there. But still I yearn for your presence and to get a "Mikkie hug" that I love and miss so much. I ache to see your sweet face in your highchair as you eat your cake and have fun, but I will just have to do the best I can without your sweet little body. At least part of you will be here right? I'm counting on you being present at your own birthday, in spirit.

I love you my Mikayla!

Love,

Mama

Thanks

Sweet Mikkie,

In Relief Society on Sunday, our lesson was on trials and adversities and how everyone is going through something hard and how even in times of trial, if we focus on our blessings and things we're grateful for, we will feel happier. The first thing she said reminded me of a quote I saw and think of often:

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

Isn't that the truth! As I think of that, it helps me to not judge and realize that there's reasons for everything that people say and do (or don't say and don't do). We just never know what's going on in people's life. Outwardly they may put on a good show, but inwardly they're suffering greatly. Everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt. If we all would give each other the benefit of the doubt as much as we dish out blame and judgement, our world would be a much better place.

The part about focusing on our blessings and things we're grateful for stood out to me also. Later that night my brother told me about a thing some people are doing for Thanksgiving. For each day, for 27 days, share something you're grateful for from A-Z. I'm a little behind on starting, but I want to do this as I know I feel a greater happiness when I'm focusing on the good and positive instead of the negative and bad. There are plenty of bad and sad things happening in the world and can easily bring us down if we let them. So, today would be letter H, but i'll start from the beginning.

A- I'm grateful for Agency. The fact that God gave us our free agency shows that He is a loving God. I hate being forced to do things, as I'm sure most people do. I know that means that we suffer consequences if we use that agency to choose wrong, but He probably knew that that's how we would learn best rather than by oppression.

B- I'm grateful for the Book of Mormon. Another testament of Jesus Christ. We are blessed to have these recordings in addition to the Bible, as it testifies of the Bible and has even more truths included. You cannot believe in the Bible and doubt the Book of Mormon, for they testify of each other. There's an unexplainable peace when I read the words from it and am grateful for the sweet witness I receive as I read.

C- I'm grateful for Chocolate. Who says your blessings all have to be serious? :) And I am serious about this, I am indeed grateful for chocolate, it's one of my guilty pleasures and it is more proof that God loves us. ;) It's just nice to be able to eat something so creamy and smooth...sometimes with a few chunky almonds, and taste the happiness long after you eat it. I mourn for your daddy who has developed a milk allergy, he might as well be allergic to happiness. ;) I'm kidding, but you get how much I love chocolate.

D- I'm grateful for Driving. Cars, that is. What an amazing invention. One thing is for sure, I would have made a horrible pioneer. It's amazing to me that we can get from point A to point B in half, probably more, the time than it does to walk. All with the comfort of heat and air and music! I feel blessed to have a working car to drive.

E- I'm grateful for Eating. Yes, I love to eat if I didn't make that clear with letter C. I'm grateful that I'm able to have food to eat. Not often enough do I think of all those without food and deal with hunger pangs on a daily basis. What an awful thing. I feel extremely blessed for the abundance of food we have in our fridge and pantry on a daily basis, we have never gone without. I laugh at myself in disgust as I remember times when I have complained that there's nothing to eat as I'm looking into a pantry full of food. Even if it is just rice and beans or top ramen, there are plenty of people would view that as a feast.

F- I'm grateful for Family. This letter happened to fall on Sunday, when we had that lesson in Relief Society and my family got together for an FHE. We all shared things we are grateful for and the theme seemed to be family. I felt the spirit strong all day and didn't get a chance to share my testimony at church, so my family had to once again endure my sobbing. I'm EXTREMELY grateful for my family. Good friends too, yes, but family is always there. At least mine is. I love how tight-knit we are and how close we've grown up together. I love that we can all get together and share our testimonies with each other and express our feelings without any judgement. Instead, we are there crying, laughing, talking and listening with each other. More than family, I'm grateful for Forever Families. It's always been important to me, but even more so now as we think of being together again with you, Mikkie. Nothing brings me greater joy than knowing someday we will all be together again, All of us, all my family including in-laws and friends I consider family that I love so dearly.

G- I'm grateful for Good entertainment. There's a reason why I say this instead of just entertainment. There's a lot of junk and time-wasting, iq-lowering, scum-filled (you get it) filthy entertainment out there. So I'm grateful for Good entertainment, and for the people who produce it and make it available. I love a good laugh and to hear a good joke, but not at the expense of virtue or good principles. It's hard to find a good, clean comedian nowadays that's why I love Brian Regan! I'm grateful for what he does and continues to provide good, family-friendly funnies. I love to watch movies also, so I'm grateful for the clean, good movies available that don't offend the Spirit as I watch.

H- this is today's. I'm grateful for Health, good health that is. As I sit here not feeling quite up to par today, and anytime I get sick I am grateful even more for good health. I'm grateful that we're alive and well and that, despite little things here and there, overall we enjoy good health and our bodies function properly. I know of people who have been suffering with illnesses for a long time, even most of their life and have left this world because of it. I'm so grateful for a healthy, working body! The body is an amazing thing and I enjoy being able to use it.

That has me caught up, now I will resume tomorrow with letter I. This is great, I feel better already just by doing those 8 letters of gratitude. I encourage everyone else to do the same whether it's writing it down or doing it mentally.

I'm so grateful for you, my sweet little girl. Your birthday is upon us in 2 days already, and there has been some greatly mixed emotions going on. I'll explain more later. I love you, Faith and daddy more than life itself. Thanks for giving me the honor of being your mother. I'm extremely and utterly blessed.

Love,

Mama
Friday, October 14, 2011

The "look"

Dear Mikkie,

As I was fixing Faith's hair in the bathroom today, I made a look that instantly made me think of you! It's that look that I loved about you, it makes me laugh and only you did it. It's amazing how much you look like me, it makes me so happy! Not that it's a bad thing to look like your daddy, he's got good looks :) it's just nice to see some similarity, especially since I'm the one that had you :) So when I see certain pictures of you that remind me of me when I was little, it makes me happy.

This picture is what came to my mind when I was fixing Faith's hair this morning...
It's not your usual smile, it's just that.....mischievous? look of yours. Whatever it is I love it.

One of the pictures of you that reminded me of me when I was a baby was this....
It's fun to see how much you look like both your mommy and daddy, and also to see how much Faith reminds me of you. There's times where I swear it's you.
We definitely have some gorgeous little girls! I'm excited to see what your little brother looks like and wonder who he's going to resemble most.

I love you sweet baby girl of mine!

Love me,

Mama

Feelings

My dear Mikayla,

You know, I have a whole bunch of thoughts run through my head all week long and make a mental note to write you about them but when it comes time to writing you, I can't remember! All I can remember is that I need to write to you.

My emotions have been all over lately. I've been noticing something about them. When I'm around certain people or places or hear/talk about certain things, it doesn't really hit me at the moment, but later when I'm home the tears just flow. It's not like anyone does anything on purpose, it's just small things that remind me of you that build up and just when I feel like I've handled the day well and put on a good show, boom. Ya, it's crazy. I'm crazy, I tell ya.

Last week was hard, some old feelings came back and hit me hard. I couldn't control it, well after thinking "It's not fair! It's not fair that everyone around me is happy with all their children and I can't." I couldn't help feeling it, so I just allowed myself to feel what I was feeling. Wow that sounded redundant.

I've been having a hard time lately with being happy. Well, I am happy but not 100% truly happy. That won't happen until we're all reunited and together again. Then I'll be blissfully happy. I somehow feel I'm letting you down or betraying you or maybe even forgetting you by being happy. This is normal, I've read that people grieving go through this. I also heard something about how we need to let go. I can't do that. In my mind, letting go means forgetting you, and I'm in no way going to do that. Holding on is what I want to do, what I need to do, for me. Holding on to memories of you is all I have; without them I would feel like you don't exist. And there's nothing that scares and hurts me more than to think of forgetting you like that. I already feel like a lot of people have forgotten and that pains me enough.

What gets me through my days is how grateful I am to have the rest of my family with me still. My personal 'hell' would be to be without my family; to be all alone. My aching to hold you is soothed a little when I hold and squeeze sweet Faith in my arms, and thinking of another sweet baby to hug and smother with kisses. Your daddy makes me so happy, I am incredibly grateful for him. I believe no one else could make me as happy as he does.
That's just our own sweet little family, when I start thinking of other family, I think how even more blessed I am to have such a functional, loving, close-knit family who loves me. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have my own mom to call up and ask for a recipe, advice, or just to talk or go on our weekly visits without her there to hug and comfort me and be my constant shoulder to cry on when I'm feeling down (which has been a lot more lately). Or not having my own dad there, who always makes me feel like his day just got better by seeing me, and not being able to sit in his den and talk about all sorts of things with him from everything from scriptures to jokes to you, Mikkie, to work, etc.... To not have my parents who have been nothing but the greatest example of love and service to me all my life.
Having all of this and more is what makes me happy enough to get me through my day. I am happy, but I will be ecstatic and overwhelmed and bursting with unfathomable joy when we're all together again. I don't get really excited about a whole lot anymore, but when I think of that, my heart overflows with excitement. I cannot wait for that day. It can't come soon enough.

I know God wants me to be happy and I know that it's got to be hard for you to see me struggling so much; and for those reasons, I will continue on with hope, strength and taking on each day the best that I know how.

I love you so much, Mikkie! I always have an image of your sweet face in my mind. I'm looking forward to when that image once again becomes real right in front of me.

Love,

Mama
Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sustained

Dear Mikkie,

In church on Sunday, we had a great lesson. The teacher asked a question open for comments, asking what's something you've gone through where you've felt sustained?

A few times came immediately to mind, but I wanted a chance to hear how other's have felt sustained through tough times. I didn't get a chance to share my thoughts, but as I sat there thinking I realized how blessed I am. God has not given up on me or forsaken me once, not once. There have been many, many times since you died that I felt like giving up and didn't want to go on anymore living with this pain and grief the rest of my life. As I look back, I know why I am still here today and how I made it through those times (and still do). God has sustained me through my difficult times, lifting me up, strengthening me, comforting me when I feel little to no desire to move forward. He was there, continues to be there for me, sustaining me through my trials and times when I want to give up.

After the comments were done, the teacher left us with a poem. It brought tears to my eyes as I can testify how true it is. The poem reads:

It Takes Just a Moment

It takes just a moment, for your world as you know it to be shattered by one simple word
the doctors words cut right to the core of our souls
It's cancer was all that was heard
It takes just a moment, to re-evaluate your priorities in life
life and death are out of our hands
it's fragile at its best so live each day to its fullest.
It takes just a moment, to put family and faith at the top of your list
to ask for forgiveness of those you have hurt,
to hug and kiss all the loved ones you hold so dear to your heart
to say I Love You just because you're you.
It takes just a moment, to share a kind work with a stranger
to smile at the person next to you on the elevator or standing in line
to hold open a door for the one walking behind you.
It takes just a moment, to share an act of kindness before it's too late.
It takes just a moment, to get down on your knees
to pray to your Savior for forgiveness and love
It takes just a moment, so make every moment count as one day there will be no more.

As you can imagine, it hit real close to home with me, though the beginning for me would have been a little different.... my world shattered when I heard those 4 words, "She didn't make it."
Before, that would have been just another touching poem, but now it is reality, not just a story and I feel so strongly about it all. I wish the whole world would listen if I shouted out "Don't take life for granted! Live every day as if it were your last! (or any of your loved ones). You never know when time is up."

Anyways, I'm blessed so much. So blessed to have a God who loves me so much and strengthens me when I'm weak, lifts me when I'm down and sustains me when I feel there is no way I can possibly go on.

I'm blessed to have 2 sweet angel girls and a baby boy on the way! I would do anything in the whole world for my children. I treasure you more than any earthly treasure. I love you so much.

Love,

Mama
Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mikkie talk

My dear Mikkie,

Lots of things going through my mind again. Many things to think about and ponder.

We went to your grave the other day. I go every week and look forward to that time to clean up your grave and spend time there. I like to have Faith come with me. I talk with her about you and told her what a great sister she was to you. The rest went like this:
"Yea. And we have a new baby brother!"
"Yup, and he's up there right now with Mikkie in heaven."
"They are? Is he going to fly in a helicopter?"
"NO! Definitely not. He's going to grow up to be a big boy! He's just visiting with Mikkie in Heaven before he comes here, having fun with her."
"Yea! Like growing crab apples and flowers!"
"........um, ya....huh? Sure yea, they're growing crab apples, why not!"

It was the sweetest conversation. That is one of the things I love about Faith. When the mood is sad or bleak, she, like you, can always make me smile and laugh. Always at the right time. I'm grateful for that.
It makes me happy to hear things about you. For example your sweet little cousin who came here shortly after you left, the other day pointed to a picture of Jesus while saying his name, and right after went over to your picture and pointed at you. Her mom told me she did this twice that day. It sent chills over me that she made the correlation between you two. It's amazing how in tune little kids are! It was another comforting assurance to me that you are indeed safe with Jesus and that life after death is real. I wish I could read her little mind to know other things she has to say about you. I'm looking forward even more to seeing your little brother! I just know it's going to be a sweet experience. Faith's and yours were too, but this one I think will be extra special. I secretly hope that he will be born able to talk to tell me all about things. :) Wouldn't that be nice.

I hope you are having fun growing your crab apples and flowers. :) I love you very much!

Love,

Mama
Monday, September 5, 2011

Drowning

Drowning. What a terrible word. It's such a hard word for us to hear now, but it's constantly on my mind, like a recurring nightmare or an unwelcome guest.

Drowning. It's how I feel. Inundated with emotional trauma, sometimes gasping for peace, for solace, overwhelmed. I've come to experience mental illness in a very real, very personal and physical way. For the first 6 months of your passing I felt I did so great, but then, seemlingly out of nowhere, came the PTSD, the anxiety, the insomnia, and the crowning jewel of them all, depression. It's interesting how big of a difference it makes when your brain is not quite all right. The world turned grey. Things that once filled me with laughter, color, excitement, ambition, joy, happiness, peace, rendered effectless. It's hard to focus, and sometimes even harder to find energy to make myself focus. I feel like such a different person than I used to be.

Fortunately, I have my family, your mother, your sister, your future baby brother, my parents, and the rest of my loved ones, and that is the core thing that gives me meaning and purpose. And, of course, returning to be with you again. Without that, I'm not really sure what I would do. A while ago in Sunday school we were asked to think of Heaven, what it would be like. I immediately thought of being with you, and my whole family again. If that didn't happen in heaven, then I would say, without the slightest hesitation, to sign me up for whatever program that did include us being together forever. The teacher then explained that we could create that heaven on earth and have it now. Oh how I wish! It seems that a big piece of my heaven has to wait.

I've written some songs for you since you passed. They'll never be radio hits, they're full of emotions that will make most people probably feel uncomfortable, but they are from my heart. I was working on becomming a better singer so I could record them, but became so much involved in other important priorities in my life that I had to put singing on the shelf for a bit. I'll continue again and I will record them. When I play them on the piano it makes your mom cry. Here are the words to the one I sang by your grave last month:

I close my eyes, I think that I can see your face
And feel your embrace, leave a warm impression on my soul
I open my eyes, I see photos and marks on the wall
They remind me that you were real after all

I gasp, because the air is thick
I can't breath anymore, I'm feeling scared
Come quick, because I'm feeling sick
I don't know how much longer I will last

How can I consolidate all of my regret?
In a single breath: Every day I didn't bless!
Time goes fast, and yet now it seems to stand so still
Leaving me here, halfway between well and ill.

I gasp, because the air is thick
I can't breath anymore, I'm feeling scared
Come quick, because I'm feeling sick
I don't know how much longer I will last

I hope an angel came to your side!
I pray that you had a warm guide!
I feel like part of me has died, inside.


After I wrote this, I had these words come to my mind, and I'm pretty certain that they came from you, so this is how the song ends:


I'll pray I can always be by your side
I'll always be your warm guide
I hope that you have joy and peace, inside


I love you Mikayla and I miss you sorely. Heartache is real physical pain, and sometimes it just hits me so hard, how awful it is to be here in life without you, to have lost you for a time. My muscles give way and I collapse into a ball, crying uncontrollably, sobbing like a man who has lost what is most dear to him. Because I absolutely have. I know I will be able to be with you again, but it just seems SO FAR AWAY. This isn't to take away from how grateful I feel that I have your mom and sister with me. If anything, my pain of missing you has enabled me to feel more love and more gratitude for every day I have with them. I feel more in love with your mom right now than ever before, she is an amazing person (I know you know it, but it is worthy of repeating for repeatings sake). And you're an amazing person. I love you Mikayla, I miss you, I sometimes think I can feel your hugs, and I really appreciate them. Keep them coming, please, until the day I will be able to hold you in my arms once again and once again get the full thing.

Love,

Dad.
Sunday, September 4, 2011

Talking about you

Sweet Mikkie,

Something else has been on my mind, shocker huh! Well After being around many people and taking more notice, I have to tell you. It's not right that I should feel nervous or awkward when bringing you up or saying your name. Everyone likes to talk about their children. Just because you died doesn't mean that I don't still love to talk about you, it makes me happy. I think often people don't say anything just to spare my feelings, but what they don't know is that that makes me feel worse.
"Family means nobody gets left behind OR forgotten." That's become one of my favorite quotes since you died. It's from a cartoon, Lilo & Stitch. Who knew cartoons could be so enlightening. By people not talking about you or afraid to even mention your name, it makes me feel less like you even exist and more like everyone has forgotten you. It really hurts. I know it's normal and natural for others to go on like we can't, but just knowing that people remember you and to hear your name gives me warm fuzzies inside. I want to be able to mention you without the awkward silences and glances. I want others to feel comfortable talking about you too. Maybe some people are afraid I'll cry and feel uncomfortable with my sorrow, so they leave it be. Sure, I may get tears in my eyes every now and then, but I'm not going to bawl in front of just anyone... my grief is special to me in a way, something that no one understands and is very fragile. I think the only thing I would have a problem with talking about is the day you died and the details. It's like pouring lemon juice over a cut and feeling the intense pain and guilt all over again. It's understandable for people to feel uncomfortable talking about that part. What I want to talk about is you when you were alive! You left us with so many good memories and lessons to learn. You made me laugh and smile so much, and continue to do so as I recall those cherished moments.

I'm not going to let people forget! Whether they are uncomfortable or not, I will and am going to talk about you and say your name as if you were still here. Because you still are here, we just can't see you and I want you to see how proud I am still to this day to talk about my sweet baby girl, and how much joy and honor it brings me to be your mother. I'm incredibly blessed.

I love you and always remembering you!

Love me,

Mama

Difficult

Dearest Mikalya,

Right now I feel angry, frustrated, hurt, sad and just exhausted. I've had all these emotions flood me today and it's been difficult. Everyone has down days, it's ok to have them... I don't think it's normal if you don't. I think it's silly how we feel like we have to put on an act for everyone pretending like everything's ok all the time.

I think what's started this, which has been building up for a few weeks now, is some things that people say. Not comments directed at or for me, but it still hurts. It's how they say that if you pray hard enough things will work out. Really? Because I'm pretty sure if I prayed any harder, I would've died from exhaustion and a broken heart. How much and how hard you pray does not alter the way things end up. You can pray your guts out like I did, and things just happen the way the Lord wants, not how you want. Some get lucky and things work out for them. Life is just unfair like that sometimes, or fair, whatever side you're looking at it from.

That's the other thing that hit me again today, which hasn't for a while. There have been some people having to run their children to the hospital because they stop breathing or have had close calls and their agony ends with relief. Today I just felt bitter all over again after hearing this and like I felt right after you died, I was bitter! Why should they live and not my Mikkie. Not that I want anyone else to die, but I want you to live too. I surprised myself because I haven't felt like this for a while, goes to show that things definitely do not magically get better after the one year mark. That quote still stands true, "Grief is linear."

I probably sound like a whiner, but hey I'm just allowing myself to feel the way I feel. This is how it is now, I'm being honest with myself and I just deal with it.
I miss you so incredibly much! I wish I could know how to deal with all this better, but I'm imperfect and am just trying to get through this life one day at a time.

I love you very, very much Mikkie.

Love,

Mama
Thursday, August 25, 2011

Things you did

Dear Mikkie,

The other day we were watching your cute little cousin over here. I think about you a lot when I see her. Maybe because, first of all she was born 2 days after you died. I don't think I was able to show my proper excitement because of my grief. It was special to me though because she is my sister's baby, and I know that you and her were able to see each other right before she came to Earth. When she pointed at your pictures, I knew that she knows you and that she remembers. Darn it all, if only she could talk!! I'm highly convinced that babies can't talk for a reason. They would tell us everything. By the time they can talk, it's all faded from their memories. That's my honest opinion anyways.
You had this cute little car that you would ride on and push. I leave it out in the toy room, but I don't let Faith's friends play with it, because it's too special to me. Kelsey was drawn to it and wanted me to carry it downstairs for her while Faith rode on her toy car. As I saw her push it around and play on it, I saw you. It made me smile, it made me cry. I knew I hadn't gotten a picture of you playing on it, which still makes me so mad. So I took one of her on it.


Remember how mischievous you were? Cute, but mischievous. :) You would always get into our pantry, get into the bucket of oats and throw it all over the floor. I feel silly for getting upset about it then. If I wasn't so focused on acting so stupid, I could've gotten a picture of you doing it. Another thing chalked up to regret. Well, Kelsey did the same thing. Too funny. She was too quick for me to get her picture, but I did get one of the mess.

It instantly made me smile and laugh. This little girl was a non-stop reminder to me of the things you used to do. I loved it! Made me feel like those times actually did happen and I'm not just dreaming the whole thing up.
I'm thinking you put her up to all of this. :) If you did, thank you! I love these sweet little reminders of you. It hurts a little, but the happiness exceeds it. I don't mind the pain, it makes it feel more real because I'm missing something I remember and that I truly cherish.

I love my sweet, sweet Mikayla! You are indeed in my thoughts, my hopes, my dreams.

Love me always,

Mama

Being real

Sweet Mikkie,

I had a good experience on Sunday. A friend came up to tell me how they saw the thing I wrote about Forgiveness Day. She started crying saying how hard it is and began explaining how she felt. I told her that it's not something that just happens overnight, it takes time. She kept crying saying she doesn't have any friends to talk to about it and we just stood there hugging. It was a touching example to me. An example of the power of caring, listening, taking time for others, of being real with someone. Let me explain by what I mean by that.

For a while now it has really bugged me how the phrase "how are you?" seems so meaningless. I wonder why sometimes the only thing I can think of to say is 'how are you?' and question the sincerity of the question as someone says it in passing, not waiting for the answer. It's just been something that's always been eating at me. Until last week when daddy and I went to listen to a local speaker who is very knowledgeable in relationships. He gave some examples of some personal experiences at funerals, which hit home with me as he was talking, although I couldn't believe some of the things that he heard. An example of being real he gave was people would come in the line, asking how they were doing, when it's obvious that they had just lost a loved one so they're not doing all that dandy. When another person, instead of asking how they are doing because it was apparent they were grieving, stated, "I can't believe how you must feel" or "You seem so strong". One simply said they didn't know what to say to which the father stated "there's nothing to say" and they all just hugged and cried together.
Another example of being real is some people were asking what they could do to help and to let them know if they need anything. A lady back in the line was being real and took notice that the family was parched; she ran to get some cups, filled them with water and took it to them stating, "you look like you could use a drink".

Back to my experience, I realized I could've just asked my friend how she was, like most times, going : "how are you?" "good. how are you?" "good." It just seems so artificial to me. Instead of asking that question, I thanked her for her kind comment, leading to the rest of the story. It just hit me, when that happened, thoughts of what I learned a few days prior flooding my mind, I need to be real with people. I then told myself I'm not going to ask that question unless I really want to know and am going to stick around to listen, otherwise it has just as much meaning as not saying anything. I still wondered why I say it. It's a habit, I think, for people to ask. We don't want to be rude and not say anything but can't think of anything else to say, so the backup question is that. Some I talk with agree and say we're trying to fill gaps so there's no "awkward pauses" when really silent pauses are ok! A simple smile, hug or "Hi!" will suffice in most circumstances. I don't know if anyone besides me has felt like most the time people expect you to answer with "good". Obviously there are times where things shouldn't be shared, but I think more times than not we all just need someone who cares and will take time to listen.

Just something that's been on my mind. I've had lots of time to think about it. :)

I don't know if it's because my body is recuperating from the overwhelming emotional day on the 14th, but this past week has felt so surreal to me. It's so weird, it's the best I can explain it. Besides yesterday, I've felt little to no emotion since then. Maybe one of our bodies coping mechanisms? This happens off and on. Weirdest feeling.

Well, I sure love you sweet girl of mine.

Love,

Mama
Monday, August 15, 2011

One year mark, in pictures

On our way to church, we saw this beautiful view over the lake; the rays of sunshine beaming through the dark clouds. I loved it.
Faith said, "Mikkie come!"
What?
"Jesus come get Mikkie!"
I wasn't sure exactly what she was talking about, but it made me feel happy cuz she related it with you. :) Isn't it beautiful!
Your headstone, fit for the sweet angel you are!
Your loving sister who loves to visit your grave and bring you flowers!
White balloon tradition for national "Forgiveness Day"
Thanks to Lisa, we have these pictures of the balloons! My camera died (just like on your birthday...sigh, but by the time it was butterfly and bubbles time, I remembered my iPod :)
Ready for take off......
Up, up and away! Awesome, huh! Did you get all 25 of them? :)

Bubble time!






Faith loved the butterflies the most. I could just see you trying to pick them up by their wings and giggling. :)

Forever Family!

One year mark, in words

My dear Mikkie,

We made it through! Thanks to the incredible amount of love and support from everyone, and being blessed with strength from Heavenly Father, we made it through the day, the week, the whole year!
As much as I wanted to fast forward time, I'm glad I couldn't because yesterday was necessary. It was very emotionally exhausting, yes, but therapeutic also. I was glad to have that time dedicated to honoring your memory. Wouldn't say it was a good or fun time, but it was a beautiful experience.

One year ago:
Woke up quickly, started getting ready while daddy got you and Faith up. In the bathroom mirror I see two pairs of blue eyes smiling at me, I turn around and smile at you and Faith. You come running up to me giving me that Mikkie hug I love and miss so much. That's as far as I dare bring up to memory, but I do remember that was the last hug I gave to you alive.

One year mark, yesterday:
The night before, Faith was sleeping on our floor, I came in to go to bed and when I saw her I knelt down by her, stroking her face and hair, while whispering to her how very much I love her and how beautiful she is and how much she reminds me of you, Mikkie. I soaked in that moment of peace and sweetness. I gave her a tender kiss on the cheek and reluctantly went to bed with thoughts of my sweet angel girls in mind. I woke up slowly just laying there in bed remembering what day it is. I saw Faith still on our floor and that's when the tears first came that day. We were so exhausted from the day before, so we slept in. I had the thought that it's ok if I stayed home because of how yucky I felt inside and out, and I know that people would've understood, but I would've rather been at church bawling with loving and supportive friends than staying home grieving alone. I couldn't justify not going to church, so I finally got up and started getting ready. I heard Faith wake up and in the mirror I saw a pair of blue eyes smiling at me, though I could picture yours next to hers as well. I turned around and gave her a big hug.

The difference between the two? The first one I was in a hurry, kind of all happened in a blur. Yesterday I slowed down a bit, soaking in these precious moments. I try to do that more often. Life's always crazy, will always be stacked up with to-do's and schedules, but taking the time for those times and people that matter most is what it's all about.

I made it to church, not without tears, but there were friends there to comfort and hug me. Some had left some balloons and hearts all over our front yard that morning saying they were thinking of us, it really touched me.
We headed over to Gramma and Grampa's house after with other immediate family members. At your gravesite we had a little program of sorts where Grampa and daddy shared their testimonies, words of hope and sweet memories of you. It was nice weather, not too hot, then the sun came out, the heat turned on full blown. At first I thought how miserable it was going to be sitting out in that heat, being pregnant. It didn't take long for the part of my song to come into my mind, "everytime I feel the sun shine through the clouds, I'll think of you, letting me feel the warmth of your love". I immediately felt your love, bringing on another flood of tears. The sun shined brilliantly on us the remainder of the time.

We then sung primary songs including your favorite, I am Like a Star. I still remember singing that to you when putting you to bed, seeing a huge grin on your face. Following, daddy sung his song that he has been working on so hard for a while. It was a perfect tribute to his little girl. I always cry when I hear it, this time was no exception, the pain was quadrupled.

Aunt Tammy had bought some butterflies that came in some envelopes so we could release them and watch them all fly up in the sky. It didn't happen that way, but I liked it better the way it turned out. The butterflies slowly wobbled their way out and struggled to flap their wings. We had that time to take pictures and hold them and just watch. They did eventually fly away. Tammy explained the reason for the butterflies, it represents change and how we have all been changed for the better because of your sweet life and the memories you left. They were beautiful, and it was everything I hoped it to be. I brought out the white balloons after, giving everybody one, reiterating my plan of Forgiveness Day. We all thought of a name of who we were going to forgive/seek forgiveness from and let them up in the sky all at once. The white was a striking contrast against the clear blue sky, it was incredible.

One last thing I brought out, bubbles. Gave one to all the kids and watched as they all had fun blowing and chasing the bubbles. You loved bubbles. I loved blowing them for you while you giggled as you popped them. I hope you loved everything we did in honor of you. We all love you so much. Daddy and I were talking after how much it meant to us for those who were able to come, to take time out of their schedules and dedicate that time to you. Also for those who were unable to come but still took time to remember and honor you. You are so very loved and remembered by so many, Mikkie!

Later on that night, we turned on your dvd, home videos all of you! Those who were still there watched with us as we laughed and cried. I tried to cry, but I couldn't. I was physically unable to cry anymore, I was that exhausted. But I was ok with that, I had time to cry and to mourn, now was the time to feel at peace. As daddy and I were driving back home we both commented how we felt at complete peace. There's a time for everything, a time for mourning, a time for laughter, a time for peace and tranquility. I'm grateful for being able to feel all of those.

It took me a matter of minutes to fall asleep, only to be woken up an hour later by Faith. There was a crazy, wicked storm outside, thundering, lightning, ferocious wind and rain. I don't blame her for coming in, it kind of scared me too. It was unlike any storm we've ever seen before, extremely powerful. Faith climbed into bed with me and we fell asleep as I patted her back and told her that everything is going to be alright.

I'm still exhausted today and am glad to have this time to relax and recuperate :) I still feel you with me, just as I did yesterday. Thank you for that. I love you, my little girl.

Love me,

Mama
Saturday, August 13, 2011

In Memory of....

Sweet baby of mine,

It's inevitable, your one year mark is upon us. There's no more denying, I might as well face it as best I can.
I have been thinking and pondering much over the last several months of how to make this day a little more bearable, a little more meaningful. There's so many days on the calendar that are declared 'national pancake day', 'national eat soup day', 'national cow day', etc; I figure if all those seemingly ridiculous "national days" can be made, I can declare my own, but not ridiculous, something meaningful. I want everyone to remember you, even if they don't know you, to remember what we learned and how we were affected from your life and death. After much, much thought and even prayer, the idea came.


To anyone who may be reading this blog and everyone else:

I've had many people say that they want to do something for us but they don't know what. If you would like to do something for not just us and in memory of our sweet girl, Mikayla, but for yourselves also, I invite you to such an opportunity.

I declare August 14th, national Forgiveness day. We don't know how much time we have and you don't want to live or leave with any regrets.

I know there are many things that I could’ve asked Mikkie for forgiveness for before she left so suddenly. I think that’s what made her death even harder, I didn’t get to apologize to her face, instead I had to do it to her lifeless body in her casket. Trust me, you do not want to have that experience…. Losing a loved one and not being able to ask forgiveness or right any wrongs. I know that doing this in Mikkie’s memory would make her happy. It's actually a domino effect, it makes everyone happy. I want her memory to continue to live on, I want everyone to remember her and the precious things we have learned through all this heartache and pain.

Throughout my reading and studying over the course of this year, I’ve come across these gems of quotes:

  • Grudges sour your mood and ruin your day. Carrying a grudge for so long wastes a lot of energy that could be used for living life to the fullest.
  • When we hate our enemies we're giving them power over us, in our sleep, appetites, blood pressure, health, and happiness. Our hate is not hurting them but is turning our days and nights into a hellish turmoil.
  • We should be too big to take offense, and too noble to give it. Abraham Lincoln.
  • You can't hold onto happiness unless you let go of grudges.
All of this is so true! What are we trying to prove by holding grudges? What good does it do us? Absolutely nothing. Forgiveness and letting go of those grudges sets you free and you are no longer prisoner of your hatred.

D&C 64:9 'Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to aforgive one another; for he thatbforgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.'

I for one, do not want to be held accountable for that sin of not forgiving, whether it be my fault or not, it does not matter, unless I make things right, I will be held accountable. If I do my part and sincerely forgive but the other person does not accept it…it is no longer my sin, and they will be the ones that will have to answer for it. So to me, who cares who caused the offense, I would much rather be clean of that condemnation than to prove who’s right.

Thomas S. Monson said in talk “Love at Home”:

“Give your child a compliment and a hug; say, ‘I love you’ more; always express your thanks. Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved. Friends move away, children grow up, loved ones pass on. It’s so easy to take others for granted, until that day when they’re gone from our lives and we are left with feelings of ‘what if’ and ‘if only.’ …

“Let us relish life as we live it, find joy in the journey and share our love with friends and family. One day, each of us will run out of tomorrows. Let us not put off what is most important.”

“What is most important almost always involves the people around us.”

"We will never regret the kind words spoken or the affection shown. Rather, our regrets will come if such things are omitted from our relationships with those who mean the most to us.


I invite anyone to take advantage of this time and in memory of our Mikayla, make a commitment to either ask for forgiveness or forgive another. It may be someone close to you, it may be someone you don't even know but are harboring ill feelings towards for something, it may even be yourself. As you think of someone, remember this, "One day, each of us will run out of tomorrows. Let us not put off what is most important.

Take that name and either write it on a white balloon and let it off into the sky, or just think of that name as you let the balloon go. If you would rather not participate in that, but still want to do something special in memory of Mikayla, let some white balloons off into the sky. Why white? Because White symbolizes purity, cleanliness, truth..... I also think of heaven and angels, reminding me of Mikkie.

-----

Sweet Mikkie, I love you so much. "We will be together again soon.....I'll see you soon."


Love me always,

Mama

Friday, August 12, 2011

Service Week

Dearest Mikkie,

Just the week before last, my family did a service week. Most of us all read the book that I have mentioned before, "The Message" and were all deeply touched and inspired by it and especially the part where he talked about doing a 'service vacation'. Well we all couldn't go anywhere, so we decided on having each family do their own service thing each day of the week and then on the following Saturday the whole family got together for a big combined service project. It was a great week, I was excited. It helped me to focus on serving each day. Most of them were simple things, but most of the time that's all it takes is a simple act of kindness. For the big project, we all went to a city building who needed help with the yard. 3 hours we all worked hard, weeding, digging, chopping, shoveling, sweeping, and laying mulch. After, we met at one's house for a big lunch feast. We were all exhausted, tired and hungry and also felt invigorated and so good for helping out. I believe it was a great experience and I want to make it a recurring tradition.

A few things that stood out to me in the book about service were:

"When you truly love someone, you seek to serve them. If the people of this nation would go out and begin serving-first the members of their families more fully, then their neighbors and community, and then extended family (rest of the world)- it would do more good than any other thing that could be done."

"As we serve our spouses and children, we will love them more, and we will become closer. Our very hearts will be changed. If we will serve our neighbors and communities, we will break down the barriers which divide us and cause a peace and love to permeate our cities. And if we will serve our brothers and sisters of this nation, we can cause a day of Zion, a day of complete peace, to come. Such a day this world has never seen. This love will become contagious."

"I recognized that this message can indeed be a poignant reminder to others of the surety of the prophecies which have been given concerning our day, and the need to strengthen ourselves and our families for that which certainly must be. Also it can be a reminder of the incredible power of service and its ability to transform us as a people. Service is the answer to reclaiming our society and changing the hearts of us, as a people."

"The word Service has lost its impact and meaning, and importance. It has become a word that it almost trite. After all, everyone knows that service helps people. Everyone knows that service is good. It is such an old idea that no one takes it very seriously anymore. But it is a principle of truth which has existed forever."

"With service, unity replaces selfishness as each person becomes deeply committed to the good of the whole rather than their own self interests."

"If you love one another, Serve one another."


I can completely agree that service isn't really taken seriously. Sadly, I feel I've been just an example.
It was very touching to read about their 'Service Vacation' they went on and doing simple, yet powerful acts of service. Most of the family started out thinking it was stupid, including the teenagers (shocker), but after a while it was contagious and they were the ones who ended up handing out most of the "caring coupons" to people.

We don't have to go out and travel to do something similar though, we can have that same impact right here in our very homes and communities. We did and I'm very grateful for that experience.
Though I know my service shouldn't stop there at that opportunity. I know Mikkie, I've just felt like the more service I do the more I will be able to feel your sweet spirit. Service shouldn't be just a thing we do whenever it's convenient, we should be using every day to serve with all our heart, might, mind and strength. I know that as I strive to always serve others, I will be more able to truly feel Christlike love for others....and myself.

I pray that we may all be blessed to see every opportunity to serve, no matter how big or small, and act upon it.

I love you with all my heart sweet girl. Two more days...... be with us, baby girl.

Love always,

Mama
Sunday, August 7, 2011

A testimony

My dear Mikayla,

I didn't get to bear my testimony in church today, partly because I was feeling light headed and did not want to trip in my high heels, and partly because I'm pretty emotionally unstable. They might've thought I was quite the nut case. :)

My heart is very heavy. Full of pain and full of gratitude at the same time. I wonder how am I going to get through this next week? I was awakened with a realization that the answer is right in front of me and has been happening. I will make it through this next week and your one year mark because of family and friends (even complete strangers have played a role in giving me great comfort-but hey, they're family too, right, we're all one big family:) . I may sound like a broken record when I say this, but I am so very grateful for their love and support! As I have been getting emails, texts, messages, phone calls, packages, visits, etc.. from people lately I've been touched over and over again. I believe compassion to be a gift, a great gift at that, probably the greatest gift one can be blessed with. There are those who it comes naturally to and others who learn it as they go from other great examples, and some just don't ever learn it at all.
All I can say is I've never seen so much compassion and such love and concern poured out than through this past year. People are more aware than I think and it shows through their loving words and actions. I was alone at church because daddy didn't feel well, and this whole week all I could think of was that blasted place you left us at. It was overwhelming. Someone next to me whispered asking when the 1 year mark is, knowing it was coming up soon. Tears immediately filled my eyes. She asked how we were doing. More tears came. I think that answered her question. Someone else remembered. I was so grateful for that simple yet powerful example that we can have a HUGE impact and effect on others when we show some compassion and show that we genuinely care. I felt like she really wanted to know how I was doing and it made all the difference to me.
Besides that, the first and foremost reason of our getting through these tough times is our Savior Jesus Christ. I think many times, people just have no clue! No clue at all, unless they themselves experience it. It's incredibly comforting to me to know that there is and always will be Someone who knows exactly what I'm going through and knows exactly how I feel; that I can call on Him for help at anytime or just to vent my frustrations, aching, concerns, etc. To know that He is listening, and He does hear and answer our pleas. I've seen it made manifest by all those who have helped comfort me recently (and all along the way), I know each one has been inspired/prompted and I know God blesses them for doing so.
I know that God is aware of us, He loves each one of us, He loves me, Laura Harper, faults and all.

My Mikkie, I think of you so much, you never really leave my mind. I think this week will be the hardest time, next to the time you died. But good things can happen even at the worst of times. I love you so very much. I just watched a video of you and hearing your precious little laugh sent tears to my eyes and a huge smile to my lips. I miss your sweet face!

Love me,

Mama
Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bitter and Sweet

Dearest Mikkie,

I cannot even believe it's been 5 weeks since I last wrote. I can't find the appropriate words to describe this past month. Seriously. How about, sigh. :) And there's still 2 more weeks to go until your 1 year mark. I can hardly even believe that. Actually, I don't want to believe it. Is there a belated phase of denial because I think I'm going through it. I feel as though I have my heels dug into the ground not wanting to move as I'm harshly being pushed forward.
People ask me about what's going on for August 14th and each time I give the same answer, "I'm still working on the details." Which is true, I have thought about it... a little. It's like I'm subconsciously avoiding it for as long as possible. Not exactly a fun "anniversary" to plan. So many emotions going on all at once, this oughta be interesting. I have no clue what to expect on that dreaded day. We're going to be sticking around close, definitely not going anywhere near Bear Lake or pools. I get sick to my stomach just thinking about that place. People say I will want to go back to that place eventually...right now I say they're crazy. We'll see, as of now there are no plans to go anytime in the near future.

That was the bitter side. On the sweet side, two days later on August 16th we get to find out the gender of our baby! I'm very excited about that. Can you already tell what an emotional roller coaster that week will be? As if life hasn't been already. :) Then it's party after party following that. So I will be keeping busy for sure.

As crazy as it's been, I've felt you more than ever. I've always complained that I don't feel you near. To which I've heard many people say that you're probably a lot closer than I realize, I just can't see because you're so close. I wished that were true but didn't fully believe it. You ever notice that things don't happen the way you think? Because you're expecting something totally different than what you're actually receiving. While I have been looking for something bold, something completely obvious, I've been missing the picture. I feel like I should be having visions or I don't know, some unmistakable sign that you are here with me. It seems like that's what happens with almost every other person I hear about, so I've been expecting the same. Nothing. Or so I thought. If I just take the time to let go of all pride and pretenses and any idea of what I think I should receive and instead have an open mind and heart, I feel things I haven't noticed before. Or maybe I have, just have been too stubborn to admit it, because it's not in the way I'm expecting. Does that make sense? What I'm trying to say is that for the first time since you died I felt your sweet, precious spirit right with me. There was no mistake about it. It's an experience I'll never forget. I believe that you are here a lot more than I realize. I love you so much my sweet baby girl, and I do know that you love me too. I know it more so now.

I love you my little twinkle star.

With much love,

Mama
Sunday, June 26, 2011

Baby

My sweet, sweet Mikkie,

Life.... what to even say about it. Let me start off with a quote that I was just reminded of, "You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have". How true that is! I often wonder how I can even bear to go on with life, even the simple tasks of getting out bed and getting ready. How do I do it? I'll tell you one of my biggest motivators is Faith... yes my faith and my Faith. :) She is a constant reminder of you and I just take one look at that sweet, precious girl and I know I have no choice but to be strong. Obviously being blessed with comfort from the spirit makes it a little more bearable, thank goodness for that.

What I really wanted to talk about is the news that has made me happier than I've been in a while. Knowing that this baby is coming straight from being with you just gives me the chills, I'm so excited to meet this baby! I must say I was paranoid and stressed at the beginning when I thought it was another miscarriage. I just had to put my mind at ease, so I went to a few dr. visits and come to find there was indeed a baby in there and it had a heartbeat. That put me a little more at rest, but then I knew I hadn't even passed the 3 month mark like I didn't last time. So there was more worrying, crying, stress and then the first appointment, heartbeat again. It was a big relief. The timing of everything with this pregnancy seems no coincidence. Had my first appointment on my birthday, June 14th, will find out the gender sometime close around August 14th(so not looking forward to or ready for this day), and I'm due around Christmas. The more I think about it, there has to be a reason I got pregnant when I did, it just seems too planned. Which will give me something happy to look forward to on each of these hard days. I see this as a blessing. What a more perfect time to have a baby than Christmastime. I have a feeling this will be a Christmas to remember.

When we tell Faith about the baby in my belly, she says "it's Mikkie!" Wow, if only that was the way to bring you back, that or flying back in a helicopter like she still thinks. Oh poor girl. I tell her as gently as I can that this baby is not you, it is another brother or sister and that they're up there with you. I wonder how much she understands of what's going on.

I was watching a video of you and Faith comes up and says "That's Mikkie! She's my best friend." Will this girl never cease to melt my heart? If it's the last thing I do, I'm going to make sure she does not forget her best friend, Mikkie. :) None of your other siblings will know you like she does, but you can bet I will help them get to know you.

I love you Mikkie. I pray you will be with us as we approach these tough weeks ahead. Or somehow get my wish granted of a Fast Forward button. Or just please let me know you're here, somehow.

Love me always,

Mama
Sunday, June 12, 2011

Memorial Day

Dear Mikkie,

While the details are still fresh in my mind, I want to share this.

Yes, of course Memorial Day was a tough day, although the days leading up to it were more tough. Maybe because of the anticipation of the day? That's what our life is anymore, crying, crying and more crying.

Most my family came to your grave with us, which was good, I needed some support. It was very rainy and pretty cold, we had umbrellas out and shaking as we stood there hovering over your grave. I was thinking "really, the rain couldn't wait? it was just clear before we came." It rained and poured. As we were all there huddled together, a thought about the rain came to my mind when I heard daddy say "she's crying for us." I thought of the line in my poem/song that says, "every time I see the rain falling from above, I'll think of you, shedding tears each time I cry for you." And I couldn't help but think that maybe that was true. It wasn't until a few moments later, when the rain quickly dissipated and the warm sun came shining down, that I realized while this may seem like ordinary weather to others it was no coincidence for me. It was a sign. It was amazing how warm it got and then I thought of my other line in my poem "every time I feel the sun shine through the clouds, I'll think of you, letting me feel the warmth of your love." It was just too perfect, the timing and order and everything. Everyone there noticed it. Did that ever get me to cry. It was indeed a very special moment. We had all put our beautiful flowers down already and I remembered I forgot something in the car. I went to the store before to get the flowers and as I was walking past the aisles, I had the thought to get some bubbles. So I did. We brought out the bubbles, one for each kid and they all ran around having fun with them, including the adults. :) To me, it was a precious moment. I could clearly picture you running around with the kids, chasing the bubbles and having so much fun. You loved playing with bubbles, that's why I got them. Bubbles would go fast with you because you'd hold the container sideways, spilling most the bubbles, so that's when I started holding it and blowing them for you. It was far more fun to watch you chase the bubbles. As it was with these kids, at first they were blowing them, then the adults took over and all the kids ran after them. After the fun little moment, we decided to get going. Without further delay, it started raining again. I'm grateful to have experienced that whole special moment, especially with my loved ones, it made it even more special. Thank you Mikkie, I don't know what kind of strings you had to pull to pull that off, but thank you! I know that God listens to even the smallest of my prayers and answers them in His own timing. The timing of this couldn't have been more perfect.

I love you! I miss you! I love you!

Love,

Mama