Monday, February 24, 2014


Summer is coming.
The orders are flowing in.
I'm so busy and I love it!
I love making stuff for others on their special days.
Everyday is a chance to serve someone.
And I love that part of it too!

But tonight I got an opportunity I don't normally get.
The kids were out of lunch meat for their school lunches.
Our favorite is the sundried tomato turkey from Walmart's deli.
It's so good! It's worth the trip!
And I needed bottled water too.
So we all headed over to Walmart.
And after the shopping was over, we went out to the
parking lot and as we got close to the car a frightened lady approached us.
The first thing she said was,
"I don't want any money, but I need to feed my children tonight."

The spirit told me she was telling me the truth.
And I told her I had no cash and I could tell by the things she wanted that her wants were sincere.
She was really just trying to get some calories for her kids.
I'm usually too scared to talk to people in the parking lot.
I had a purse stolen once before in a walmart parking lot.
But I told the kids to stay with Tom and I took the lady inside to help her feed her family.

 I told her to get a cart.
And I could tell by the things she put in the cart that she was in fact telling the truth.
The grossest tuna. Dry pasta. The cheapest spaghetti sauce.
She picked up the generic raisin bran and she said it was filling so it was a good one.
I asked if she wanted a gallon of milk.
And she said that if she fed her kids fresh milk they wouldn't take the powdered later.
She said she adds sweetened condensed milk to the powdered milk and that helped it taste better.

I knew she was desperate.
She said tomorrow she would be able to get to the food bank,
but that she was very grateful for this little bit to help her get to tomorrow.
And she said her cats needed food and I should have insisted she got the food for her cats.
She told me her two cats helped her deal with the stress of her situation.
And I remembered all the nights Patches has climbed up on my bed
and snuggled with me since Bradley's been gone.
I choked back the tears and thought about Bradley.
 I thought about how many blessings I have.
How many times, I received help, because of Bradley, through the grace of God.

It was a sacred experience to help someone tonight.
An opportunity I don't normally get because of my fear.
But the spirit told me so strongly it was okay to help her.
And I helped her. And I'm glad I did.
I am not a perfect person.
I do not always help my brother.
But this was an opportunity, I'm glad I took.
I'm so grateful for everything I have.
And it gave me new eyes to see what I have been overlooking.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Glue

I keep getting the question of how I'm doing.
I'm not sure what to say, usually.
It's hard.
This is hard.
But not as hard as watching him die for 16 months.
He went into respiratory failure at the age of 10 months.
Watching him suffer through respiratory failure for 16 months was harder than this.
Much, much harder.
Both physically and emotionally.
Because no doctor could ever tell me exactly why Bradley was dying.
But at night I held my son while he struggled to breath.
Every time I kissed Bradley I wondered if it would be my last.
That was the hardest 16 months of my life.
And while I miss him terribly; the suffering is over.
Imagine someone on the edge of death for 16 months.
Imagine being the caregiver.
Imagine how well I sleep now.
Imagine how safe I know he is.

 I had a dream about Bradley the other night.
In the dream I took Bradley to visit a friend from high school.
She passed the summer before Bradley passed.
When I saw her in my dream, I took him out of the stroller
and I handed him to her so she could hold him and meet him.
And she stared at him for a while; then looked up at and me and said,
"He's a very special boy Mary!"
I told her I knew he was.
I woke up knowing they are together.
We went to our first funeral since Bradley's on Monday.
My great aunt. She was a very close sibling to my Grandma Wanda.
My grandma has been gone for 15 years.
And I've not had much contact with my great aunt since Grandma has been gone.
But we are family, so we were invited to the viewing.
When we walked in, my children really wanted to see her.
They were drawn to her and Charlotte almost jumped out of my arms and into the casket.
And then it came time to close the casket.
And her husband of 76 years was wheeled up to her to say his goodbyes.
His cries and love poured out of him.
He called her name again and again and told her how much he loved her.
And our tears flowed freely as we listen to the sobs of his love.
And when we followed the casket out of the relief society room,
 Jacob grabbed my hand and told me he understood how much my great uncle missed his wife.
Jacob said he wanted to talk to him and tell him he understood how he felt.

I wonder all the time, why my kids have to go through this.
Why do they have this experience of playing in the cemetery?
Even taking their friends there with them to visit their brother?
And showing their friends Bradley's funeral video slideshow!?!
It's so weird. Most 7 year old boys don't do that!
I'm starting to think that they are here to be an example to me.
To be examples to me of how to deal and cope with MY grief.
Miss him. Remember him. Cry about him.
And then get up and do what I was doing before.
I think that is what Bradley would want me to do too.
I love my kids.
I'm glad I've had each one of them.
I'm glad that Jacob and Charlotte and Maddy and I can hold hands through this.
And I think that was one of the reasons why God sent us Bradley.
Bradley came to glue us closer together.
To challenge us to become more.
And to help us stick together through it.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

I Have a Family Here on Earth

Bishop was inspired to take the young women
and young men to the Gilbert, Arizona Temple open house last weekend.
It was a wonderful trip.
When I returned home Tom and I celebrated our 12 year anniversary.
It's been 12 years of wedded bliss.
And 12 years of the hardest struggles I have ever had to face.
Have I mentioned that I'm a runner?
Well, I like to run from my problems.
And this latest problem, of losing my son, has made me want to knock down
what I've been building for the last 12 years and start over again. 
Somewhere else.
Somewhere new.
With people who don't remind me of Bradley.
Somewhere that the hole Bradley left wouldn't be so obvious.
It's been the most my relationship has ever been tried.
So I came home last weekend, feeling refreshed.
Feeling like I did want to be with my family forever.
And Tom and I decided we needed a little vacation alone as a family.
And what better a place to go than to the temple together?
So yesterday we packed the car and hit the road and traveled down to sunny Arizona.
And today we entered the undedicated House of the Lord with our children.
And as we got to the sealing room,
I picked up Charlotte and looked into the mirrors
with Tom and Maddy and Jacob beside me
and I realized that we are just the ones left here on earth.
That our family is more than just the five of us.
Our family reaches behind us and ahead of us.
And our family is going to be dynamic.
It's going to change.
More will be taken from us.
And more will be added to us.
And as long as we are sealed,
it doesn't matter who is still here on the earth and who is in Heaven.

And we then we went over to the Mesa Temple.
And the brides were numerous because it is a Saturday.
And all of the babies and grandparents were there too.
And I was reminded that I'm out of the having-baby-stage of life.
And I realized it is going quickly.
This life is just a moment.

And we went into the visitor center and watched a presentation about families being forever.
And after it was over the sister asked us what our favorite part was.
And Jacob said,
 "We have a baby brother who is in Heaven because his brain didn't work.
And I'm glad to know that families ARE forever.
It means so much to me because of my baby brother."

This trial. This hard thing. It was part of our plan.
I know it when I look at my children who hold hands so often.
I know it when I see the beautiful skies Bradley has painted me.
And I know it when I hear Jacobs beautiful testimony, that families are forever.