"Thank heaven there is tomorrow. Because there is tomorrow, all our yesterdays have meaning and all our dreams have hope."

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas at the Cabin

We had a nice, quiet, white Christmas at our new cabin in Parowan, Utah. The cabin was not entirely furnished, but we had a BLAST anyway! We watched movies, read, slept and just relaxed all weekend. It was nice to escape for a little bit with family and have a WHITE CHIRSTMAS!
Here are a few pictures from our weekend:
Me and Jason by the Christmas Tree

Becca and Matt hanging out in the great room

James and Becca decorating the Christmas Tree

Becca on Christmas morning

James creating a snowboarding jump on our drive way. . . yes, there was THAT much snow

Matt jumping the snow-ramp on our driveway

A Grief Observed

How can I even explain how I understand this book by C.S. Lewis? My friend gave this to me after Gavin passed away and I am just now getting a chance to read it. I haven't finished the book yet, but I think I grasp the raw, uncontrolled emotions he speaks of concerning grief. Through his writings you can visualize the grief cycle and the different stages we feel after the loss of a loved one. The one thing I am truly beginning to understand it that grief does not make sense. Feelings do not always make sense, and pain does not always make sense. Doubts, fears and questions are always there in the back of your mind. There is one quote that really hit home to me concerning the grief of a mother here on earth: "If a mother is mourning not for what she has lost but for what her dead child has lost, it is a comfort to believe that the child has not lost the end for which it was created. And it is a comfort to believe that she herself, in losing her chief or only natural happiness, has not lost a greater thing, that she may still hope to 'glorify God and enjoy Him forever.' A comfort to the God-aimed, eternal spirit within her. But not to her motherhood. The specifically maternal happiness must be written off. Never, will she have her son on her knees, or bathe him, or tell him a story, or plan for his future, or see her grandchild." During this part of his book, he is angry and doubting God and His works. I have to admit my own weakness and doubt I have felt over these past few months. There have been times that I have wondered how a kind, just, merciful God would take away my baby boy. I wondered where his mercy was for me. Even knowing that we are an eternal family does not always fill the empty ache I feel inside when I miss my sweet Gavin. Just like C.S. Lewis said, we may know that we can be together beyond this life, but it doesn't always comfort the mother who aches to hold her son now.
One night I was talking with my mom and dad asking them why God would take such a beautiful boy - the joy of my life - from me. My dad had a specific insight that I feel to be very true. He said that we willed Gavin to be here. From the beginning of the pregnancy, things were rocky. We fasted, prayed and asked the Lord to help me carry this baby. And He did. After Gavin was born and we found there were problems, we fasted, prayed and willed the Lord to keep Gavin here. And He did. Gavin had blessing after blessing given to him, and still the Lord's will had to be done, however; Heavenly Father let us figure out what needed to happen for Gavin so that we could give him back instead of Him taking Gavin back. He let us figure out Gavin's plan. That is a kind and merciful God. That is a God who helps soften the blows of reality; and that is a God who answers prayers. I cannot ever say that God has forsaken our family. He has given us the blessings of an eternal family; and even in our moments of despair - the knowledge of the gospel can bring light into our darkest nights.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Jason's Christmas Gift

In November I decided to attempt a patchwork quilt using the few outfits Gavin wore for Jason's Christmas gift this year. We talked about what we would do with Gavin's old clothes (I could never dress another child in his clothes) and we decided we would just put them in the box Jason's brother Brent made for all of Gavin's toys, clothes, etc. One night I was feeling ultra lonely and I wished I had something to cuddle with that belonged to Gavin. . . and then I had the idea of a quilt. I thought it would be nice to have something of Gavin's that you could touch and love. I spent quite a few hours working on the blanket and I had to be sneaky so Jason wouldn't see it. Sewing really isn't my "thing" so I felt like I had accomplished quite a bit when I was able to give the blanket to Jason on Christmas Eve. Here are a few pictures of the quilt . . .

I never EVER thought I would have time to do something like this. It was actually kinda fun!

Merry Christmas Daddy!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My Christmas Cooking Fiasco . . . It Happens Every Year

It's inevitable. Every year around this time I somehow end up on our kitchen floor crying. I wish I could tell you I don't know how this happens . . . but I am fully aware. It usually begins around Thanksgiving when I start planning my Christmas list. Without fail, I compose this grand idea of baking and cooking so we can have treats to take to our friends, coworkers and neighbors. Perhaps I am the "Clark Griswald" of Christmas baking. I have these huge ideas that somehow don't turn out how I imagined. Then, as I begin my monstrous task of baking I realize I just can't do it all. That's when I end up on the floor. This year was not any different than the years before. As I started baking last night I watched Jason evaluating the situation. Poor Jason . . . he gets the brunt of my baking woes. So, just as the years before, my Christmas baking ends up a mess and Jason stands there watching his out-of-control wife freaking out on the kitchen floor. Maybe next year I just need to stick to sugar cookies! :)

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Twilight Series

I have officially joined the masses . . . my friend Amber let me borrow Twilight to read. She loved the book and I have heard so much about it, so I decided to read it. Who knew I would love it so much? I really have no business staying up late at night reading when I have so much to do to get ready for Christmas - but I couldn't put it down. I have to admit the idea of this book is different . . . but as I read it I really fell in love with it. I even went out last night and bought the next two in the series. It also doesn't hurt that one of the main characters is so easy to fall in love with. :) It's nice to read a feel good book with a cute love story.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Our Law Firm's Donations to the Ronald McDonald House

In honor of Gavin, my dad's law firm did a toy drive for the Ronald McDonald House here in Las Vegas. I was completely overwhelmed by the generous donations that were given. The House estimated that over $3000 was donated in new toys and there was a VERY generous cash donation as well. Tonight our family (minus my sister Becca who is at BYU) was able to take the donations to the Ronald McDonald House. It was so nice to be able to give back to an institution that was a help for us during our time with Gavin at PCMC. There are so many good people who are willing to help total strangers. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to have a sick child in the hospital during the holidays. My heart goes out to the families who have to endure such trials. So, THANK YOU to ATM&S Law Firm. We appreciate your love and compassion to the families at the Ronald McDonald House during the holiday season.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Christmas Box Angel Memorial Service

On Thursday December 7, 2007 Jason and I went with my parents to the Memorial Service at the cemetery where Gavin is buried. This is a Christmas service for all families who have lost children. The inspiring story behind the service is the book called The Christmas Box Angel by Richard Paul Evans. This book is about an old woman who seems to disappear every December 6th. By the end of the book, we find that every year this woman visits to the grave of the child she lost and lays a white rose in the arms of the angel monument built for her child. There is much more to this book . . . but I would hate to ruin the ending for anyone interested in reading the book. Every year the cemetery where Gavin is buried does a memorial service and families can lay a white rose in the arms of the angel monument built in the children's section. After the service and the dedication of the Angel for the year, they light up the beautifully decorated Christmas Tree in the children's section and they sing Christmas Songs while we decorated our children's graves. Perhaps this is morbid to many of you . . .

I guess I the most thought provoking part of the evening was that I realized for the first time WE ARE NOT ALONE! I know in theory many people have had to endure the loss of a child, but it is difficult when YOU are the one coping with the loss. I would imagine there were over three hundred people there - people from all over the city came to remember their children. As odd as this may sound, it was actually a calm and peacful experience. We were able to talk with a few of the parents there at the service and find out about their children and experiences.

As Jason and I, along with my parents were decorating Gavin's little Christmas Tree, a little girl about two years old walked over to us and with a sweet little voice looked at me and said very matter of fact-ly, "There is a baby there. I need to see him. I need to see him!" She was so small and you could tell her mother was embarrassed she was asking to see Gavin. I talked to the little girl for awhile and explained to her that this was my baby and he had passed away. Her mother then told her that Gavin was like her two brothers and sister. This poor mother had lost three children. I didn't have the words left to say to her except to say I was sorry. What more can you say to a mother who was aching so badly for her three children? Needless to say once again I felt like I was not alone.

It was a beautiful night, and we were able to set up Gavin's little tree by his grave site marker (his headstone still isn't in yet). I decided I would add a few pictures of decorating his tree . . . perhaps this is odd. It felt odd. I have to say this isn't how I expected to spend my first Christmas with Gavin, but it reminded me there are many other families who know this pain. There are many other people who need comfort during this holiday season. I hope we can all take the time and step out of our pain to help and comfort those that need comfort.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Back to Work!

I went back to work this week. Yes, finally I am getting a routine back. Those of you who really know me know that I thrive on routine. The past four months have been anything BUT routine. It's been quite an adjustment to actually have a daily routine. I was able to go back to my same job at the law firm, and I am so grateful to have that opportunity. I have had a hard time getting used to life this way again. I know it's not a rational thought at all, but I feel guilty going back to work. I feel guilty because I feel like I am betraying Gavin. I know it doesn't make ANY sense at all . . . but that's how I feel. For the past four months I have done nothing but take care of Gavin, the insurance companies, medical bills, plots and headstones. Now, it's done. There is nothing left to physically do for Gavin. It's time to get back to work. It's an odd feeling to have been mentally prepared to stay at home full time with a VERY high needs child - and now I am back at work doing the same thing I was doing six months ago. I can't rationally justify my thinking - I guess that's called emotions. I am glad to be back - I know it will be good for me. I really love my job.