Our Little Angel

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Family is Forever

It's been some time since I have posted here, and I was challenged to share my personal testimony of the temple on Facebook, so I thought I'd write it here, where I can refer back to it easily and it will be more permanent. When I was a small child, once in a while, my parents would take me to church at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Both my parents were inactive members, meaning, they were baptized as members, but they did not live the standards or attend meetings. But in those few times I went I remember learning about the temple. I remember learning that my family could be together forever through the sealing power administered within the walls of the temple. I am not sure why that seemed so important to me as a 4 or 5 year old child, but I knew it was true and I knew I wanted my family to be together forever, so I started making sure my parents knew that that was what I wanted. My dad's mom, the only grandma I really knew early on, started telling me about the temple almost in place of bedtime stories. She told me about the people there, all dressed in white, beautiful rooms trimmed with gold, and she would show me pictures of the Salt Lake Temple. She told me it was a castle and that I was a Princess and so I would go there someday.
(This photo is not my own) I always knew that is where I wanted to go and that I wanted my family to be forever, but the pressures of teenage life did their best to keep me from it. Nearing the end of my senior year in high school, I made the decision to grow up, and find my way back to the path that would lead me to the temple and eventually to my forever family. I went through a lengthy repentance process, breaking bad habits and asking forgiveness and for the grace of the Savior's atonement to help make me all I should be, to enter into that holy house of the Lord. No other hard work has ever been so worth the effort. After I turned 21, I started dating the man who would become my eternal companion. It was a whirlwind of a courtship. As I sat in the room of the baptismal font, of the Jordan River Temple, inspiration came flooding in on me and I knew that Neil would be my husband. This was only a week after our first date, so I thought I would keep that to myself for a while. Two weeks after we started dating, he knew as well and came to me to ask if we should pray about getting married and so we did. The next morning, watching our General Conference broadcast together, an image of the Salt Lake Temple cam on the screen and Neil knew, too. One month after our first date we were officially engaged. At this point, I called my parents. I told them I was getting married and I would not settle for less than a temple marriage; that I hoped they would be able to be there for that sealing ceremony, but if not, I would still be married within the walls of the temple. They set to work right away and four days before my wedding my dad and I received our endowment on the same day, and directly afterward I was sealed to them as their daughter for all eternity. It was the blessing I had hoped for since I could remember. On the 13th of August, 2003, Just short of 11 years ago today, I knelt across an altar, dressed in white, and gave myself to a man whose soul I think I have known forever; and to whom I will remain at his side in love and equality, for time and all eternity. I know that the power of that ordinance has no end and cannot separate us, even in death. I could not know as a 5 year old child that the sealing power of the temple would come to mean so much to me, in my life as a young mother. I could not know the day Neil and I were married, that it would be the most important decision I could make for my children. I could not know that my faith in that power, to bind families together, forever, would be tested to it's limit. But I would come to know, after carrying our third child, our first son, for 9 months, and holding him in our arms for 11 hours, that death is not the end. That I will see my baby boy again, and he will be mine. He will be Neil's. And I know that the ordinances of the temple give me peace and understanding. I am so thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who has helped me every step of the way. I am greatful for President Hinckly, who saw the vision of temples dotting the Earth and went to work to make it a reality. And I am thankful to my dear love, for his faithfulness and devotion, to me, to our family and to his faith- for his example to me and I say these things, in Jesus' name, Amen. If you want to learn more, I would be happy to answer any questions I can. You can also refer here forcommon questions answered.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tr.istan's 3rd Birthday and Too Many Little Angels

Well October is over for this year and I feel like we let it pass without dwelling much on Trist.an. When September dwindled into the last warm days of summer, I felt a sudden heaviness settle on me. This sadness deepened as I watched a couple members from my support group, (Intermountain Healing Hearts), struggle with the health of their dear children. All so young, and who have endured so much in their short little lives. And the parents that worry and care and selflessly serve these kids as they watch their own flesh and blood suffer through bad health, medical procedures; they have to be wondering, "how long will it be like this?" or "how much more can my child take?" or just "why?". I admire these moms so much and wonder how they find the strength and optimism to pull them through while going through the kind of uncertainty I only experienced for mere months. I know some would look at me and say they'd rather go through the worry and the stress as long as their little one could remain in their physical arms. All I can say is that we are each uniquely called and qualified for the trials we are to endure. As I watched the updates spatter the wall of our little facebook group, another one of our mothers posted on the wall that their little girl was in the Children's Hospital in Orlando instead of in Disney World meeting Minnie Mouse for her Make a Wish trip, and my dread deepened. I struggled to understand why. Why must any other mother go through the nightmare of losing their baby? Why do we have to add any new members to our angel group? Why couldn't I have been the last? Why? Then just days before Tris.tan's Angel Anniversary the news came that this sweet little girl was done with her fight and had been called home. I struggled. I struggled with the pain of knowing another mother was missing her baby. I struggled with the reasons why. I struggled so much, that I didn't want to think about Tris.tan. I didn't want to think about the loss or the hole that is in our family. I didn't want to think about this office that should be a little boy's room, decorated with monsters and dinosaurs and trucks. But the truth is, I think about it everyday. I think about the extra car seat that should be in our car. I think about the treats I should be buying for a 3 year old little boy, and I think about the fact that he'd be a Sunbeam in church this January. Then there is the flip side. This little angel girl that I spoke of has an earth-angel for a mother. This mother posted on Facebook, before removing life support "Heaven is about to get a little sweeter." And I guess that is the best "why" that we have. These angels are done with their work here on Earth, and now they are continuing their work in Heaven. It's hard for me to imagine a more urgent purpose for my boy, than being here in my arms, or being a human tornado in my freshly cleaned house, but Heaven's lucky to have him. Happy 3rd Birthday Tris.tan. We may have celebrated you more quietly than usual this year, but you're still ever as close to our hearts.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas #3

It is hard to believe that it has been three Christmases, now, without Trista.n. He would have been 26 months old. To get a good idea of what he would be like, we took a 2 year old boy off of the angel tree to buy Christmas for this year. In sorting through the 2 year old boy cards on the angel tree at the store, and reading through their wants, it seems all 2 year old boys want cars, trucks, and puppies! :) So here is Trist.an's Christmas, bought and dropped off at Shopko last week. (Man I am with it this year!)

I had the chance to read The Christmas Box for the first time this year, back in November. It is beautiful and in it, a letter written to a character's deceased daughter sums up what Christmas has come to mean to me.

Anyway, I am looking forward to Christmas. It's already an emotional time of year, and the feelings I have are bitter sweet, but I am thankful for this time of year, to celebrate our Lord's Birthday and what that personally means for me; which is the hope of seeing T.ristan again.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Two Years

How is it possible that we've been plugging along for 2 years without our little angel? In some ways it is a distant memory. I struggle to remember the sweet newborn smell of Tri.stan's hair and the weight of him in my arms.

In other ways, a vivid photograph brings back the sweet and somber feelings as if it were yesterday and there is no way that 24 months have passed.

We have been able to meet such amazing and beautiful people through this whole experience and I could not trade them for anything.

On Trista.n's Birthday/ Angel Anniversary, we were surrounded by friends and family as we shared Tris.tan with them through his videos and pictures. I loved that our friends who have come to us because of this experience were able to get a sense of that day through the hundreds of pictures we have.

After the video we did a balloon release, which I wish we could have had pictures for, but no one had a camera that would capture the image in the dark. We stuck green, blue, and yellow glow sticks into white balloons and let them go after the sun set. We were able to watch them float into the twilight blue until you couldn't distinguish them from the stars. It was beautiful.

Since then, I have seen Tangled (I know I am behind the times) and when they let the lanterns go for the lost princess I totally thought of our glowing balloons- for our lost prince!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Trist.an's Visit, Best of Heritage Video

For more information about free NILMDTS/ HM Angel books, or making your own Heritage Makers projects you can email me at GetStorybooked@gmail.com.

Tri.stan's Still Doing Good in This World (08/10)

This past weekend, Nei.l and I drove down to Phoenix to accept the Best of Heritage award for the company that I am a consultant for- Heritage Makers. I signed up as a consultant after working on Tris.tan’s baby book through Heritage Makers. My first big project ended up being a 12×12 album of Trist.an’s professional photographs. The album was very healing, because after writing down his story and our families experience and emotions, and having his perfect little image preserved in the art of Julie William’s NILMDTS photography, I felt like I could let my mind and heart wander and heal from the pain of this. Yet anytime I wanted to go back to the beauty and love of having Trist.an in our lives, it would all be right there. So I made this book and really thought it was too personal, in the sense that no one else would want to read such a sad story. But My friend saw the potential in this book and submitted it to Heritage Makers for the Best of Heritage awards. It is a great honor to have won this, but it’s even more than that.

When I started with Heritage Makers as a consultant, one of my goals was to be able to donate a story book to as many Angel families as possible. This weekend saw the fruition of that dream on a level I didn’t even think of. Trista.n’s book has inspired the company to team up with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep to offer a storybook to every family served by NILMDTS. It was a dream come true to spend time with Julie and to meet with consultants around the country who are so excited about this partnership. So many came up to meet with N.eil and I and to tell their own stories of loss. I am always so humbled to have strangers who hear of Trist.an and our story and let me into the personal heartbreak they have experienced.

Anyway, I am thrilled with the good that has come out of all of this!

Trist.an's influence

So, I decided that I would finally add a post on here. This is Nei.l in case you weren’t sure. I have been thinking about this for the last few months. I was hoping anyone that would be willing to share would post a comment or e-mail us directly would share with us how Trist.an’s short life influenced theirs. This is something I would like to add to the things we have to remember Tr.istan. We don’t regret any of the decisions we made but in some ways, I think it would help us to have these stories not only for Ara.e and I but also for our kids.

In the near future I plan on sharing what he did for me and how my life has changed because of him and the miracle that he truly was and continues to be. I am not the writer that A.rae is so it may just bore everyone, but I really feel like I need to do this. Trista.n changed our lives so much that we could never repay what this experience did or fully express our gratitude to our Heavenly Father for the miraculous gift that Trist.an continues to be. We just want to know the impact that he had on others.

I am not able to express myself very well in words. I leave that to Ar.ae. She has a gift for that. I guess my hope through all of this is that there was even more good that came of this than even we can see in our own lives. Trist.an changed the world for us and hopefully he had some impact on others as he did on us.

Thank you to anyone willing to share. It would mean the world to us.