Tuesday, April 30, 2013

{April 30, 2013}

April 30, 2013

Good morning my most handsome son, my brave warrior, my angel boy!

I have so many thoughts rumbling around in my brain this morning.  So many things to talk to you about.  And missing you so much.  14 weeks since I held you, heard you, hugged you.  Sometimes it feels like you've been gone forever.  And others like it was just yesterday that you were here.  I like those days best.  When you feel so close to us. 

I have to clarify from a couple of weeks ago about my selfishness...had I known all along that come January you'd be fine actually meant come January you'd be fine in Heaven, I NEVER would have left your side.  All of our relationships would have stayed cemented just as they were.  You and Dad wouldn't have become buddies like you were able to, and McKayslin and I wouldn't have the relationship that we have now.  Heavenly Father knows us so well.

Disneyland was fantastic.  And not as hard as I'd imagined it would be.  Maybe because all of the memories Dad, McKayslin and I made there were new memories - we'd never been to Disneyland as an earthly family of 4.  We missed you so much, and I found myself talking to you in my head (that makes me sound more than a little crazy!) on the rides where the seats only held two people and McKayslin was riding with Dad, or on the rides where there was just enough room for one more person on the bench (like Pirates and Small World), but I only teared up twice.  Once when we asked the lady that cuts silhouettes to cut one of you also from a photo on my phone.  I had to just walk away.  The other time was right after that when we were looking for frames for the silhouettes and I found the cutest Dopey figurine.  I couldn't even talk.  I just stood there and held it.  Dad and McKayslin knew I needed it, so Dad bought it for me.  

But then we came home.  We flew into SLC and could see the temple and the hospital.  And we got in our car and drove home.  The last time we made that drive, you were with us.  Coming home.  I got quieter and quieter on the drive.  It's so hard to not have you here.

Home made me sad.  Bringing in only 3 suitcases.  Seeing your room exactly as it was when we left.  Being reminded that our earthly family only has 3 people now.  Home where everything has a Kenton memory attached to it.

When McKayslin said family prayer last night, she was asking Heavenly Father to tell you that we love you, just like every time we pray, and then she added, "And please tell Kenton how much we love him, and miss him, and how much we missed him at Disneyland when we felt so lopsided."  It's true.  She said it exactly.

I had a rough night.  McKayslin took good care of me though.  Daddy would have, but McKayslin kicked him out.  Thanks for letting me feel you near last night.  I know you're around often and I'm so grateful for that.  You always helped me remember to be kinder, more patient.

I'll come back later, or another day, to write more.  I want you to know that when the taxi driver asked if we only had one child and I answered yes, my heart tore right in half. She spoke such broken English and I didn't want to burst into tears right there in the taxi explaining that you were my angel boy.  But you have to know that I have TWO children.  I'll always be YOUR mom and you'll always be MY boy.  I wasn't prepared how to answer that question...I'm so sorry son.  I LOVE YOU!

Keep working hard.  Keep being awesome.  Thanks for teaching me so many things and for loving me so unconditionally.  "We promised Him we would do this, so let's show Him that we can."  You're amazing, my boy.

I'd better get McKayslin woken up, Sparky taken potty, and myself ready for school.  Please know how much we miss you and how much we love you.  We'll stop by the cemetery this afternoon and bring you a little sunshine.  We found the most awesome prize for you at Disneyland, but we won't bring that just yet.  We need to find a way to keep it safe at the cemetery first...

Project Elder Reynolds is rolling forward - so many people reading the Book of Mormon and sharing their testimonies.  It's awesome!  Thanks for helping us be better!!

LOVE YOU!  MISS YOU!  Think about you all the time!  

Biggest Mom hugs, and giant slobbery Mom kisses...

All my love forever, for always, and no matter what!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

{April 16, 2013} [12 weeks]

April 16, 2103

Dear Kenton,

Hey buddy!  I miss you!  We all miss you!  Hope you've had a good week.  We love the sunshine smiles that you send.  We love you!

This morning my thoughts are all over the place.  I know, right?!  Me?!  All over the place?!  ;)  Stop laughing!  No, don't stop laughing - sometimes I hear your laugh in my head (that makes me sound about a few kinds of crazy) and it makes me smile.  Your smile, your laugh, your hugs...I miss those.  I miss finding little sheets of paper all over the house with horses drawn on them.  I miss the notes in my scriptures, in my school bag, on my white board when you'd come to help with centers. I miss going to do something and finding it already done with a little "love you!" note left behind.  I miss hearing you (grumbling) and practicing the piano.  I miss hearing you sing your favorite songs.  I miss making you breakfast every morning.  Um, I think I'm missing you a lot.  Your bus is just about to drive by.  Most mornings I try to be where I can't hear the bus.  I still hear it.  Some days it doesn't bother me.  Today, I don't think, is one of those days.

The other day I was thinking back to the day we brought you home for the final time...January 20.  After all of the excitement of the escort through the canyon, the hero's welcome into Hyrum, and trying to figure out where we all were going to sleep, you and McKayslin were both so hungry.  It was Sunday.  We had food in the house, but most of it would need to be cooked.  Except there was a pizza lunchable in the fridge.  You said that sounded good, so I opened it and you told me you would make your own pizza so Daddy and I could work on getting the living room cleaned out so we could all go to sleep in there.  I wish I would have taken a picture of you just then.  You fixed one of the pizzas for yourself.  And then you silently and carefully worked to fix the other two for McKayslin.  You knew exactly how she liked them.  And when you had them ready, you called to her, handed her the plate, and you both ate.  Those kinds of moments are etched in my heart.  You spoiled your little sister, you know, by being the best big brother ever.  One of my favorite things is hearing her play with her friends and hearing them all talk about you with such fun memories.  Thanks for always making sure she knew you loved her.  You still do that for her.  I'm so grateful for that.  It's been a hard couple of weeks for her.  Stay close to her.

The wind is blowing this morning and it's a grey and cloudy day.  Probably going to get some rain.  Or some snow.  Every time the wind blows, I hear your bird feeder that you made at scouts rattling in the tree.  That was one of the last things we did before your diagnosis - fill and hang your bird feeder.  We loved watching the birds gather to eat.  Part of me wants to take it down and save it in some special place where it won't be ruined by the weather.  But I know that wouldn't make you, or me, any happier than seeing it filled each spring and watching the birds come visit.  Our little red finch is back. He was out on the trampoline frame the other day.

One of the things that's been on my mind a lot over the past week (really over the past 12 weeks and then even a little longer than that) is the question Teri asked in the letter she wrote you, "...and why no miracle."  At the very beginning of your battle, Daddy and I (and everyone else we've talked to) all felt like you were going to be just fine.  That this was just a trial that you'd take head on, like you did everything else, and then, come January, after the trial, everything would be fine (this is what I think is super interesting - I always felt that come January you'd be fine).  Keep that thought in mind for a minute...

You see, I'm pretty selfish.  You already know that.  ;)  From the day you were born, you were MY boy.  We had so many of the same traits.  So many of the same talents.  So many of the same likes.  We were pretty inseparable.  You cooked with me, you shopped with me, you crafted with me.  McKayslin has always been more like Daddy.  Even on our Saturday morning adventures, you would always opt to come with me to the craft store, while McKayslin would choose to go with Daddy to the DI (weirdos, lol).  Upon diagnosis at Logan Regional, there wasn't even a question who would ride with you in the ambulance or who would stay with you at the hospital.  It was just a given that it would be me.  Throughout June and July (round 1), I stayed with you constantly except to come home, repack, and return on a Saturday while Daddy and McKayslin stayed with you.

When you were home in July and August, McKayslin would often be off with friends and Dad was at work, so you and I would hang out here and watch movies and play games and read and just enjoy being together.  The first time I left you for an extended time was the middle of August when I had to come home to get ready for the school year.  It hurt my heart so deeply to leave you there.  I knew Dad would take good care of you...but it was MY job.  I am your mom.  (Selfish me, I know).

You came home on the first day of school and we had grand celebrations.  In September, I had to let you return to SLC with Dad.  It was going to be over 100 days before you'd get to come home again.  I'd only see you on weekends.  (See how I didn't even think about this affecting McKayslin  or Dad, only how it would affect me - I'm working on being less selfish, I promise!).

What I learned over the next few months (September - December) is that McKayslin and I, while we loved each other, didn't really have the kind of relationship that I thought we did.  Neither did you and Dad.  Those months of us living in three separate places (home, kid jail, and the halfway house) gave us the opportunity to develop good strong relationships on all fronts.  You and I (even though we would butt heads OFTEN because of our super strong personalities) already had a good strong relationship.  Dad and McKayslin already had a good strong relationship.  You and McKayslin already had a good strong relationship.  Dad and I already had a good strong relationship.  But what was missing was the relationship between McKayslin and I and the one between you and Dad.  During the months of September - December, we had the opportunity to develop those relationships that were missing.

Don't get me wrong, I still missed you.  So much.  I also knew that this was a gift our family had been given.  Time to build and heal relationships.  That's why no miracle.  Heavenly Father had a different plan for you, but because He loves us so deeply, He gave us the gift of time.

In December we first heard those horrible words preliminary relapse.  I still felt like, come January, you'd be fine.  We made the most of every weekend together - you and I would often go out shopping or hang out watching movies or reading while Daddy and McKayslin went places together.

You finally got to come home in January.  FINALLY.  And we hoped this would be the start of the come January Kenton will be fine.  You were home for TWO days.  That Saturday, Dad and McKayslin went home to pack up the halfway house.  You and I were here together, but you were sick.  Very sick.  So tired.  Most of the day I just held you on the couch and we watched movies or you slept.  That night you were readmitted to PCMC.

That Thursday the doctors told us you were in frank relapse.  Friday we were told that further treatment held very little hope.  We had to make the decision to attempt treatment or allow you to go.  One day I'll have the strength to write about that Friday with all of the blessings that happened on that day.  Today is not that day.  

In my heart I was crying (okay, you remember I was crying for reals too - all the time, we all were) saying, "But it's January - he's supposed to be fine!  That's what I've felt since June!"  And then a quiet voice came to me and said, "He will be fine.  He'll be a better fine than here on earth."  

January 20 we brought you home, hoping for 3-4 months of time...that's what the doctors said.  We had plans to do so many things.  There were other plans for you.  2 days later, you stepped into eternity.  Sometimes I wish I hadn't told you it was okay for you to go.  And then I realize I'm being selfish again.  That last day you were in so much pain.  And your body was working so hard.  Then I realize you would have stayed until I was ready to let you go.  That wouldn't have been fair to you.

Come January, Kenton will be fine.

We had to say good-bye to you 12 weeks ago today.  Good-bye to your earthly body.  You're still stuck with us forever, little dude!  ;)

Remember how much we love you, k?  Keep bringing us sunshine smiles and letting us hear your giggle.  Work hard.  You're doing great things, my friend, and I am so very proud of you and so grateful to be your mom.  I must have done something right to have ended up with THIS eternal family...

Lots of Love, Big Squishes, and Extra Kisses!

Have a great week...

Love always,

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

{April 9, 2103}

April 9, 2103

Good Morning, Handsome!

Love you!

It's snowing today.  I know, right?!

I've been thinking a lot the past few days about what I wanted to write this week.  Lots of ideas have come, and I've started a list to help me remember.  There are a couple of things that have come up every time I think of you, so those are the things we'll talk about today.  ;)

The first is kind of a silly fun little memory...remember back in June when your hair started to fall out?  How you could just pull it out in chunks and it didn't hurt?  And how cousin Rachel came to visit and had so much fun pulling your hair out with you?!  (Weirdo, lol).  And then it started to bug you because it was everywhere.  And it was itchy.  So McKayslin and I went on an adventure to buy some clippers.  Daddy shaved your head (you were SO brave even though it really made you sad!) and then you and McKayslin shaved Daddy's head.

 For the next few days after that, when I would kiss you on the forehead at bedtime, you'd turn your face up to me again, like Dopey in Snow White, for another kiss.  I'd take your ears, turn your face down, and kiss your little bald head again.  :)  Love that memory.  You always could find the sunshine and fun in any situation.

Last Friday after I wrote to you, I was feeling so down, so sad.  McKayslin decided she wanted a friend to come play (can't blame her because I certainly wasn't a barrel of fun!). She called Jelly and they decided to play at Jelly's house.  At that instant, I had the most overwhelming need to go to the temple.  It was quite strange, actually, because I dressed so quickly in a dress that I almost didn't even remember doing it.

I dropped McKayslin off and asked if she could stay long enough for me to go to the temple.  Of course, Callie said yes.  On the way in, I was listening to one of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir CDs that Todd, Cortnee, and baby brought you at the hospital.  And it was raining.  The weather fit my mood perfectly.  I took this picture just before entering the temple...

...and posted it with this portion of the hymn Where Can I turn for Peace:
Here is my solace. Here when my aching grows. Here is the quiet hand to calm my anguish. He answers privately. Reaches my reaching. In my Gethsemane...Savior and friend. Gentle the peace He finds...constant He is and kind. Love without end.

I entered the temple in tears, with such a burning in my heart, knowing that I NEEDED to be there that day.  I quickly dressed and entered the chapel.  I picked up the Book of Mormon and started reading in Mosiah (where we are as a family).  Reading about Abinidi and his faith reminded me so much of you.  Your faith never wavered.  Even facing such trials, knowing you would not be healed, you never wavered.  Your example strengthens me still.  As I proceeded through the endowment session, I had the very distinct feeling that you were on one side of me, and Sister Ruth was on the other side.  There is a connection there.  I think, perhaps, that you helped teach her.

In the Celestial Room, that impression was deepened, and I could feel the love and strength you needed me to feel that day.  I picked up the triple combination in the Celestial Room, intending to read more from Mosiah, but instead just let the book fall open.  Coincidence that it opened to D&C 138?  I think not.

D&C 138...
56. Even before they were born, they, with many others, received their first lessons in the world of spirits and were prepared to come forth in the due time of the Lord to labor in his vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men.
57. I beheld that the faithful elders of this dispensation, when they depart from mortal life, continue their labors in the preaching of the gospel of repentance and redemption, through the sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son of God, among those who are in darkness and under the bondage of sin in the great world of the spirits of the dead.

Yep, there's a connection there.  So proud of you.  Your faith, your knowledge of the gospel, your love of others remind us to do a little more, to be a little stronger.

As I left the temple, I couldn't help but notice the difference in myself.  Nor could I ignore this...

I paused to take this photo, captioning it with this portion of the hymn There is Sunshine in my Soul (because that is how I felt):
There is music in my soul today...and Jesus listening can hear the songs I cannot sing. There is gladness in my soul today...and hope and praise and love, for blessings which He gives me now, for joys laid up above. There is sunshine in my soul.

You remind us often that you're close.  Mostly with sunshine smiles.  And sometimes other ways also.  There's that funny little incident with the movie Megamind the other day.  :)  McKayslin and I still laugh about that one.  And Sunday at the cemetery - the sunshine, the stopped wind.  You freaked Margo out a bit.  Still playing jokes.  Still making us smile.

We'll stop by the cemetery today.  Bring you some balloons.  You know the drill.  ;)

You're never far away.  And always in our hearts.

Thanks for being awesome!

Love you son!


Friday, April 5, 2013

{April 5, 2013}

April 5, 2013

Dear Kenton,

Hey, buddy!  I know I'm late writing this week.  It's been a tough week for us.

Last year at this time, Spring Break, you spent the week with Grammy and "working" for Uncle Boyd.  I say "working," because to you, it wasn't work, it was pure awesomeness!  I'm so glad you had that experience.  You loved every minute of the heat, the rain, the mud, the "hey, chucko, that doesn't smell like mud," the calves, the irrigating...you loved it all.  I still chuckle when I think of the e-mail you sent telling us that you accidentally swore at a cow... "I meant to say DUMB cow, but that's NOT what came out! LOL!"  Who would have ever guessed that you'd never get that opportunity again?

We spent last weekend on a random roadtrip adventure that you would have loved!  Daddy and McKayslin are getting better at "tripping" the way you and I like to roadtrip - get in the car and drive till something looks interesting, stop and explore, get in the car and drive some more.  I often wonder if you and Aunt Emma are having wonderful roadtrip adventures in Heaven.  Do you get to take roadtrips in Heaven?!

Friday we headed to Grammy's after school/work.  McKayslin stayed with Grammy while Daddy and I went on a date.  Saturday morning we had waffles and Grammy syrup, and then JaNae set up an egg hunt for Lillian and McKayslin.  They had lots of fun hunting eggs.  Shortly after that we headed for Boise.  That's a long old boring drive.

Once in Boise, McKayslin stayed with Aunt Kami and those cousins at their hotel while Daddy, Uncle Kenny, Uncle Don, Aunt Jennica, and I went through a session at the Boise temple.  Such peace is found in the temple, and I always feel you just a little closer when we're there.  It was a beautiful temple and a wonderful afternoon.  We picked McKayslin up, had some dinner, changed clothes at our hotel, and went out to Uncle Don's so McKayslin could dye Easter Eggs with those cousins.  Such fun.  She made the most beautiful "dragon" egg that was a dark turquoise color...and one that was less than beautiful, an "amberish, brownish" egg that I still say was puce.  ;)  Back to the hotel for some swimming.

Last time we were in Boise is one of the only times I went swimming with you guys at a hotel (and never did I go here at home).  I'm sorry for that.  This week has been really hard because instead of remembering all the happy awesome times, my mind keeps focusing on the "should haves" and the "I wish I would haves."  Daddy found a quote from one of the general authorities that tells us that discouragement is Satan working on us.  That's exactly how it feels this week...dark and sad.  All three of us have struggled more than usual this week.  General conference is tomorrow and Sunday.  I am excited to listen to the messages.  I know there will be many that are meant to help heal my heart. I'm sad for Daddy to have to go to the Priesthood Session without you...you've gone with him every year since you turned 8.  Let him know you're there, k?  He's going to need that.

On our way home from Boise, we stopped at Shoshone Falls (they were so dry this time, nothing like when we went!) and also at City of Rocks.  We found your name on Camp Rock again.  Hiked around a bit.  Enjoyed the sunshine.  On the way home, Bertha wasn't being too helpful (imagine that, lol!), so Daddy "followed the signs" to get us home...55+ miles on random dirt roads in the middle of Idaho.  It.was.awesome.

This week we've done lots of cleaning and organizing.  Still a long ways to go, but the house is starting to feel less suffocating.  Found a set of my favorite pictures of you from Uncle Kenny and Aunt Kami's wedding reception.  They made me smile.  "Broke his head" - always a favorite from when you were 1.

Your headstone is almost finished. We're so grateful for Brown Monuments. They're working hard to make it the perfect memorial piece for your body's resting place. We have the porcelin piece for the back - one of your horse drawings, one of the last ones you did in December. It's beautiful. When we stopped at the cemetery this week, our Tuesday with Kenton Tradition, there were some gifts there from your friends. We know that some of them came from Dylan, but there were others that we don't know who left them. A pinwheel, so brightly colored and spinning in the wind, and a 6 pack of IBC Cream Soda - your favorite! Once in a while we find a letter there from one of your friends. Told you your friends wouldn't forget you. Usually we bring you balloons or flowers. This week we brought you a wind chime - "a boy and his dog" that we found at Cracker Barrel in Boise. It's the perfect representation of you and Sparky Dog. He still looks for you here at home. He misses his boy. I know you miss your dog. There are lots of my dogs there in Heaven with you that you can play with (if you have time!). On the days that we bring balloons, and every other time we come to the cemetery, the wind is blowing. Yet, just as we get ready to leave, when we're saying "Love you, bye!" the wind stops and the balloons float straight for just a few minutes. Your way of letting us know you're okay. And if it's a cloudy day, the sun always bursts through the clouds, just for a few minutes. We love that! This week, the wind stopped again when we were leaving. That made us laugh a little, because THIS time, we brought you a wind chime...kind of a useless gift when there is no wind... Well, my boy, I'd better go. McKayslin and I need to find something fun to do today - our last day of Spring Break. We were going to go to the zoo with Heidi Mom and family, but the rain here and in Salt Lake changed our plans. Perhaps we'll just snuggle up in your love sac and watch a movie together. I'm not much fun I'm afraid, and days like these cause your little sister to miss you more than ever. I'll do better. Keep working hard. You're doing amazing things up there (and down here!). We love you. We miss you. We're so glad that you're in our forever (FOR.E.VER!) family. Have a good week! Lots of Love, Mom