Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Preparation or Paranoia

Last year about this time I started having nightmares that reoccurred several nights for a few weeks before Easton died.  I kept seeig him get hit by a car in front of our house. Each night I had the nightmare I would wake up frantic and sweaty. I would have to self talk myself with how I would handle this actually happening. I would always calm myself as I would think about the Lord's will and me having to recognize HIS purpose in all things. After Easton died, I realized those nightmares were preparing me to rely on my faith to get through such a difficult thing.

Last night I had a terrible nightmare that Beckett pulled on some Tv cords and pulled the large, heavy, flat screen tv off the wall and crushed himself to death. In my dream I was loading up to go coach Kenzie's softball practice and Cameron was in watching a show while looking after Beckett. Before I got out of the driveway the police came because Cameron had called 911 and they were close by. They cuffed me and pressed charges for accidental neglect resulting in a fatality.  Worst feeling ever!!  It is hard to put into writing the helplessness, pain, regret, out of control feelings. I woke up in a sweat again. Of course my biggest fear is losing another child. Even worse is being told I'm not a good mother, because I have lost a child to an accident. And even furthermore is losing a second child. As I woke up from this nightmare in a panic, I had to check myself again.  What if this nightmare were a reality?!  Of course I would hope this would never happen, but what if?  Am I just being paranoid or am I being prepared again?  I am going to say it doesn't matter, either way, I have to keep myself in line with whatever The Lord has in store for me.  I thought about Job in the scriptures. Job lost his wife, family, riches, everything except his testimony. He had been well to do, but when he lost everything he had, he still stayed strong in his faith. I hope I can be like Job in my faith. I really hope I don't get tested like Job was tested, but in my heart I have to know that if I was tested to that extreme, then I would want to be as strong and committed to my Savior and Heaenly Father.

I really hope I don't keep having these nightmares. But on a positive note, I do feel like I have a spiritual experience as I live out each nightmare, saddened by the loss, but strengthened to know I will find peace and calm during the storm as I recognize the Lord's will in my life.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

What nobody told me about losing a child

I have read and talked to many people who have had a child pass away, but what nobody ever told me is that I would also lose a piece of EACH of my children when we buried Easton. (At least for some time) I know the grieving process is long and different for everyone, but what I have discovered the past few months is that I am having to learn to parent each of my children again. They each have their own way of processing and handling the trauma they have experienced the last nine months.  As a mom I am having to learn and adjust to the changes in each of them and try to be understanding of the difficult behaviors they're exhibiting. As challenging as it has been the past few months as these behavior changes have come to light, I have learned a few things. First, I have to understand that their world has been flipped upside down and rocked in ways I can't relate to.  I can understand that they are hurting and they don't even recognize their feelings and the changes in themselves as being related to the loss of Easton. Second, I have learned that it is going to take me being patient and unconditionally loving to help them find security, safety, and refuge.  As the kids exhibit these difficult behaviors I have realized they need to feel valued and treasured as much as Easton. When I begin to feel overwhelemed and frustrated with the kids choices, I have realized it is important for me to help them find their own self worth. This is very hard. There are days where I am just emotionally and physically exhausted, especially when the kids are grumpy, constantly fighting, and whinning over simple and small things that used to never be a problem. Every mom feels this struggle sometimes, but it has been magnified 100 fold with the constant battle to balance my children's hardships and grieving, my own grieving, and carrying on being strong for my children and husband, while still continuing on with all the other tasks of life we had before Easton died. I know that as we face this hardship together as a family, and focus on the eternal perspective of things, that over time our family will be healed and whole through our Savior's love and atonement. Until that time comes I will share what I am learning as I walk that path, and hope I can in some small way help someone else along the way.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Easton's Trees Clean Up

Packing the ornaments from Easton's trees were more difficult than I imagined.  I enjoyed putting the trees up and looking at each individual ornament.  I could feel so much love and support as each ornament arrived.  We labeled all the ornaments as they came in, if they were marked from the sender.  I enjoyed walking by the trees in their various locations.  I loved staring out my in laws back door at night and seeing the tree lights across the slough.  It made me feel so peaceful.  As I would stare at the lights out there it would make me think of what a light Easton brought to this world and the continued light he still brings as I think of him. 

I'm not sure what or why I felt the way I did as we packed up his ornaments.  Maybe every time I put something away for him is like letting another piece of him go.  I know he is gone, but his spirit is well and alive.  But, it is still tough not having him here physically.  Those ornaments were all physical reminders of Easton and the things in life he loved.  Although I love the physical reminders, I know the spiritual reminders are most important and more influential.  I am thankful for the physical things that help remind me and help me feel that spirit close.

Happy New Year

As 2013 came to a close and we start 2014, I had a dear friend ask me how I am doing.  My reply was that 2013 was a pretty tough year.  She said, "This year will be better."  As I thought about that conversation, I looked back at 2013 and thought, "yes on the surface losing Easton made 2013 become quite a rough year."  But, all in all, I realized that 2013 was a great year.  Even though it has been hard and words can't even begin to touch on the emotions I have, it has also been a very happy and rewarding year.  I have cried many tears over the loss of Easton. I can honestly say that if I were to count all the tears cried, that more of the tears turned from sorrow and longing to tears of joy, love, and peace. Don't get me wrong, I miss Easton and I cry tears of sorrow a lot, but amidst those sorrowful tears come tears of joy, love, peace, and comfort as I feel the Saviors love enfold me.  I have learned so much this past year from the trials we have faced.  I don't think, no I know, that Heavenly Father knew this was the only way for me to learn some of the things I have learned.  What are those things, you might ask?  To start, I have learned how to lean on the Savior stronger. I have learned a deeper understanding of the importance of DAILY scripture and prayer. I have learned to pray harder.  I have learned to trust deeper.  I have learned to stand stronger.  I have learned to walk by faith more readily.  I have learned more about the importance of priorities in life and this world vs. God and eternal consequences.  I have learned a deeper understanding of compassion and forgiveness towards others.  I have learned more patience and tolerance.  I still have lots of room for learning and improvement in all those aspects, but I recognize them more deeply.  I have also learned to blog!

So, despite having some pretty tough challenges in 2013, I am thankful for all the blessings and spiritual growth I have received.  I know this coming year will also bring unforeseen trials, but I hope that all the things I have learned from this past year will help me during the tough times ahead.  I know that if I continue to do my best to lean on the Savior, that the trials that I do face this coming year will also be a blessing in my life to help mold me into a better person and daughter of God.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Beastie's Bench

We were so blessed to get special permission for a spot to place a bench at Easton's grave.  We enjoyed working together as a family to come up with a  design that we would be able to enjoy permanently.  We are very happy with this monument and we will enjoy sitting on it as we visit this peaceful temporary resting place for Easton's physical body.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

683

What's so important about this number?  Nathan gave me this letter and necklace for Christmas.  His letter says it all!


12-25-2013

 

Tiff,

 

            When I came up with the idea for this gift I was thinking about the time that we had with Easton. I was counting the number of days that he was on the earth with us and about all of the beautiful memories we had with him. Easton lived with us for 683 days, and I kept thinking….683 days of perfection. But then I thought about more than the time we had with him here, but the eternities that we will have with him forever. So with these thoughts I designed this pendant specifically for you, in memory of Easton and the wonderful blessing he has been in our lives and that continue to come to us after his death.

 

            The pendant is made of white gold. I chose this for 2 reasons…1. Because you like it better, and 2. Because it seemed more pure to me than yellow gold. When I think of Eastons life I think of the purity that he brought with his calm demeanor and the way he made everyone around him feel loved. He showed the pure love of Christ to all around him.

 

            If you look at the center of the pendant you will see the number 683. This number represents the days that we had with Easton on this earth. 683 days of joy that shaped our family into something much better than before he was with us. I think about these days and am so thankful for all of the happy memories we were able to make and even though we have experienced so much sadness with his death I would do it all over again 1000 times, if I could.  Those 683 days will always be special to us.

 

            The 683 is surrounded by a circle. A circle has many meanings, but I thought about how a circle is defined by its center. If the center moves, so does the circle. Eastons life has helped me redefine my center and the center of our family and I know that with Jesus Christ at the center of our family we can be whole again….just like a circle…everlasting with no breaks. I also think about Easton, and our desire to be with him, as a center of the circle. As we live our lives in a way that allows us to live with him eternally we will be putting Jesus Christ at the center.

 

            You will also see a lot of diamonds on the pendant. Diamonds are so precious because of their rarity, but also because of the circumstances by which they are made. Diamonds are also very hard, the hardest of elements, and cannot be scratched by other elements. A diamond is formed out of the same elements as coal. Under extreme pressure and heat, these elements become beautiful and everlasting. After they are formed diamonds are pushed to the surface of the earth by deep volcanic eruptions. I think about this past year and the extreme pressures and challenges that we have faced and I am thankful to have a wife who has emerged from these pressures and challenges as a diamond. You have withstood the pressures and have come out more beautiful than ever. The challenges have helped our testimonies of the gospel harden, like a diamond, and as we are pushed to the surface we can now bless the lives of others because of our experiences. The diamonds also remind me of Easton…his clear beautiful eyes that we could look into for hours, because he was pure.  He was a diamond when he came to us, and he helped us become more like him.

 

            Last, the number 8 is also the infinity symbol. When I was drawing out this design, originally with just the 683, I realized that the 683 is just the beginning and that we can spend eternity with him, so I had to fit this symbol in. When I figured out how to draw it in I thought it was perfect. The 683 days that we spent with him is just a part of eternity, and while the 683 days were great, eternity is our focus, and became the focus of the necklace design.

 

            I hope that this will have as much meaning to you as it did to me in having this made, and that it will be a precious reminder of our sweet Eastie, but also of our goal of an eternal family. I am thankful that I married someone who will help our family reach that goal. I knew when I prayed about marrying you that you were a diamond. Our Heavenly Father knows all, and he will continue to bless us with the challenges that he know we need to reach our goal of living with our Beast again.

 

I love you,

Friday, November 29, 2013

Easton's Christmas Trees

We have truly felt so much love and support from around the world.  Ma Whipple had a wonderful idea to ask our friends, family, and acquaintances who want to join us in sending ornaments for Christmas trees that we placed at our house, the path toward the Garden of Easton, and at the cemetery.  We had such a wonderful response that next year, we will get bigger trees!  We also added a fourth tree and made an Easton tree at Ma and Pa Whipple's house.  We have ornaments from all over the country and world, even as far as Germany!  Our family had a great day preparing these trees, looking at every ornament, labeling who they were from, and placing them on the trees.  Our hearts are filled with love and gratitude as we have felt everyone's love toward us, helping us through the holidays.  We noticed that everyone put much thought and effort into the ornaments.   We hope to continue adding to the tree each year, so anyone is welcome to continue to participate with our family as you may desire.