Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Treasure Each Moment

I've been thinking a lot about all the things I wish I'd done with my dad while I still could.  It's amazing how the loss of a loved one can make you examine your life and your priorities.  I've said the words over and over..."We can worry about that when things settle down."  I find, however, that "things" never settle down. 

Sunday we had a special meeting at which Elder Richard G. Scott spoke to our stake.  It was a wonderful meeting and I felt so inspired.  Some of the main things I took away from it was turning off the TV and spending more quality time with my children, taking more time for scripture study and sincere prayer, and making sure that God is first in my life.

For the first year of parenthood, Rob and I were in survival mode.  It was necessary...but when and how do you transition from surviving to thriving?

I watch my children and am amazed by how much they are growing and learning.  Sometimes I wish I could just stop time so I could really take it all in and savor it.  But life doesn't work that way.  We have to use each moment we're given.  I have fond memories of the vacations I've taken with my parents, siblings, spouse and children throughout my life.  The moments that have really formed my relationship with them though are the times we spent working together.  I walked into Lowe's the other day and I teared up as I remembered the many projects I worked on with my dad.  I learned so much from him and I loved spending that time with him.  If those are the times I cherish, then doesn't it make sense that those are the ones my children will cherish?  Whether it's working in our garden, doing dishes together, baking cookies, raking leaves, shoveling doesn't matter.

From this day on I'm going to strive to treasure each moment I have with my family and celebrate this beautiful life we've been given.

The Pain of Loss

My dad passed away the evening of April 17th.  Even though I am an adult, I feel somewhat orphaned.  There is one less person in this world who I know loves me and is proud of me.  I never knew my heart could ache so badly.  I was fortunate, however, to have been able to spend his last two days on this Earth with him.  The time I spent alone with him the day he died is the most precious gift I've ever received.  My dad was so uncomfortable and his body was failing but his spirit was so strong.  He was exhausted and I told him to rest but he said that he was afraid to fall asleep.  I asked him why he was afraid and he told me it was because he felt like he was leaving my mom in a mess.  I assured him that Mom would be taken care of and that he didn't need to worry about her and he assured me that he was not afraid of dying.  He shared with me a few details that he was concerned about but a lot of the time we were both silent and I just held his hand. 

The nurse came to tell us that they were going to move him to ICU so they could observe him better and that they would get us from the waiting room when they had my dad settled there.  We were in the waiting room for only 10 to 15 minutes when we heard Code Blue called.  The doctor came out and told us his heart had stopped and that they were trying to revive him.  I was shocked because my dad had been talking to us even as they wheeled him away.  I believe that my dad was not able to let go while we were still there with him and that it was only when he was alone that he was able to relax and stop fighting to live. We went in to be with him and they stopped administering CPR.  I immediately felt the loss of his spirit in my life.  It was at that time that I realized just how great a man my dad really was.  I was a child mind repeating the words over and over, "I want my dad!"  I want to hug him.  I want to hear his voice.  I want to see his smile.

While experiencing this pain and sorrow, I have been adopted...adopted by those who had comforting words to say, who stepped in and helped when it was needed, who cried with me...I felt my family grow.  The loss is still there but God brings people into our lives who fill that loss and gradually it fades.

I have said that I feel somewhat orphaned but I know that we are all God's children and now it is my Father in Heaven that I must lean on for support.