Tuesday, October 29, 2013

[October 29, 2013]

October 29, 2013
40 weeks

40 weeks you've been gone, my handsome boy.  
You've been gone longer than we awaited your arrival as a baby.  
40 weeks of missing you.  
40 weeks of tears.  
40 weeks of heartache.  
40 weeks of doing things without you.  
40 weeks of trying to match our old traditions with our new reality.  
40 weeks of grief.  
40 weeks of wondering just how we're going to stay standing.  

And on the flip side...

40 weeks of service.  
40 weeks of phone calls, texts, email. 
40 weeks of concerned looks.  
40 weeks of "How is your heart today?"  
40 weeks of meals, treats, cards.  
40 weeks of seeing the love and concern of our Heavenly Father poured out so deeply through those who love us.

Last week I was teaching piano lessons.  Megan's lesson.  She was playing the song "For Good" from the musical "Wicked."  That song hits me right in the heart every time... because I knew you, I have been changed FOR GOOD.  

She played it beautifully, not needing any help, so I just sat back and listened.  

And then, for just a very brief moment, I felt a hand on my shoulder.  
No one else was here except Meg and I.  
And you.  
You stopped to let me know you are okay.  

I had to catch my breath as she finished playing and I felt you leave.

Saturday we went to the Pumpkin Walk.  
We've gone every year since you were just a baby.  
Every year except last year.  
Because you were at the hospital.  
Just as we walked in, a single little leaf fell from a tree, and landed directly on my head.  I reached up, took it off, and Daddy said, "Hi, Mom!"  Yep, just a little love tap from my boy, again, letting me know that you're okay, and that you are there.

This week I've been thinking a lot about our traditions.  

And at first I was angry that you didn't get to spend those last traditions doing things the way we always have.  

But as I sat, with tears streaming down my cheeks, I was gently reminded, again, of the love our Heavenly Father has for us, and how He knows the end from the beginning.  

Brought into my mind was our last Halloween together.  It was the weekend before Halloween actually.  McKayslin and I had brought FunKins and carving tools to the hospital because you weren't allowed to be around live plants (fungus, mold, etc.).  Our family spent that Saturday afternoon "carving" pumpkins.

You know what's awesome about that?  
We have the last pumpkin you ever carved.  
It won't rot.  
It won't have to be thrown away.  
Because it's not a real pumpkin.  
See that tender mercy right there?

And then my mind wandered forward to Thanksgiving.  Since you were old enough, you (and then you and Sis) have always decorated the tree on the Friday after Thanksgiving with Grammy while Daddy and I went shopping.  

Last year we didn't go shopping.  
You were in-patient again, recovering from pericardial effusion and the surgery to relieve that.  
McKayslin had the great idea the week prior to that, to pick up little fake trees, and all of the ornaments to decorate them.  
That Friday after Thanksgiving, that's what you guys did.

We have both of your trees bagged up, ornaments still exactly how you hung them.  
We'll get them out on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  
Because they're small, they don't have to be undecorated.  
Yours will stay exactly as you so carefully decorated it.  
Another tender mercy.  
We'll always have your tree.

Oh how we miss you.  Oh how we love you.  Oh how we grieve.

You're a pretty amazing kid.  
Your sister is a pretty amazing kid.  
Your dad and I are pretty blessed to have been chosen to be your parents.

We'll stop by to see you tonight.  
And again on Friday when we undecorate your resting spot after Halloween and put up the fall/Thanksgiving stuff we've found.

Love you, LOVE YOU!

Forever.  For Always.  And no matter what.

Have a great week, handsome!

Love you!


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

[37 weeks] [October 8, 2013]

October 8, 2013
37 weeks

Dear Kenton,

This morning started out rough.  Rougher, in fact, than many others.  I'm not sure why.  The only thing I can think is that I've been trying so much harder over the past month or so to just be better - to forgive more freely, to love more openly, to serve more willingly, and to spend time each day reading the scriptures and in thoughtful earnest prayer.

Every time we attempt to become closer to our Heavenly Father, Satan really steps in and tries to take hold on our hearts, make us feel that we're not worthy of the love of our Heavenly Father, that we should just give up, and go back to being slothful, lazy, grumpy...

Doctrine and Covenants Section 58:
For verily I say unto you, blessed is he that akeepeth my commandments, whether in life or in bdeath; and he that iscfaithful in dtribulation, the ereward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven.
 Ye cannot behold with your natural aeyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the bglory which shall follow after much tribulation.
 For after much atribulation come the bblessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be ccrowned with much dglory;
You are such a great example of being faithful in tribulation.  Never once did I hear you question your faith.  Never once did I see anger regarding your diagnosis, your treatment, your final diagnosis of terminal.  

I posted on the Team Kenton Facebook page "37 weeks and each seems more taxing than the last. Miss you, my boy. Love you forever."

We have some pretty great people on our team, my boy.  Do you know how I know that?  

Because today was actually an okay day.  And a day that starts out like that and ends out okay has to have some pretty heartfelt prayers going up on my behalf.  So many people that have never met you, me, our family, have been praying for us since they first learned of your diagnosis in June of 2012.  Those prayers continue.  And they bring the strength and peace that we need.

Tonight after our weekly visit to the cemetery...

...and traditional stop at McDonald's for dinner, Dad had YM early, McKayslin was playing with the littles, Grammy was reading a book, and I needed to go to town to get shampoo and conditioner.  

I had every intention of going straight to Wal-Mart and straight home.  As I was driving, thinking, praying, somehow I didn't really notice where I was going until I ended up in the temple parking lot... (pretty scary to think of, but since I'm certain I was supposed to be at the temple tonight, there were a legion of angels directing traffic and guiding my car - and pretty sure you were sitting there riding shotgun which is just downright awesome!).

I didn't have my temple clothing in the car.  But I did have my recommend.  And, interestingly enough (?!), I had worn a skirt to school today, so I was dressed in appropriate attire for temple attendance.  I sent Roma a quick text to see if she could keep McKayslin a little longer than planned, stepped out of the car, snapped a quick photo...

...and headed into the temple.  
I chose to do initiatory.  
Or, more accurately, I was told to do initiatory.  
You, my boy, are pretty persuasive.  

You knew that I needed to hear those blessings again.  
To be reminded of the promises made to me by my Heavenly Father.  
Thanks for getting me there tonight.
You know me so well.  

Over the past few weeks, things have happened and things have been said and implied, that without going into detail, because details would hurt others, and that's not my intention, have really knocked me for a loop, set me into a tailspin, and kicked my mom guilt into overdrive.  

As I've prayed for comfort, for peace, for understanding, for the ability to forgive, I've felt as I've gotten nowhere.  That I've been stuck in this place that hurts and threatens to break me.  Tonight, as I participated in the initiatory  two phrases were emphasized each time - "Your sins are forgiven you and you are clean..." and "...your shoulders that they may bear the burdens placed upon them..."  (those may or may not be the exact phrases, but they're close).

And I left the temple feeling as if I'd walked into a room filled with brilliant light, with the love of our Savior, and I could feel your arm linked with mine as we walked to the car together.  Forgiveness.  Strength.  Tonight was a miracle that I truly, completely needed.

I still don't understand why you had to go.  
I doubt that, until the Millennium, I will understand.
Every day is a battle to just be okay.
We're doing our best.
Some days are better than others.
Some days just hurt.

We know you're nearby.  
Watching over us.  
Helping us.  
Loving us.  
Missing us.
Thanks for that.

We miss you.
We love you.
We are blessed to be your forever family.

Love you, LOVE YOU!