There is no footprint too small to leave an imprint on this world.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Some Christmas thoughts

As I have been reflecting about this Christmas season and the new meaning it has to me because of the death of Jane, something that I have thought a lot about is my perception and connection with Mary.
We watched a film called “The Nativity.” It’s one my family has watched every year for a few  years. It shows Mary as what she was; a virtuous, young, faithful yet sometimes scared girl. I related to her, I wanted so badly to think I am somewhat like her. I wish I could be like her. We both lost a child, but the depth of her sacrifice is so much larger than mine.
When the shepherds came, she said He was for all mankind, which He was. From the moment of His birth, Mary had to share with him all mankind. I was very fortunate to have Jane all to myself. After all, she really only wanted me. Mary had to watch her son be accused and tormented by all around Him. All of this while knowing that He was the Son of God. She had to let Him go. She had to watch him die in the most painful and horrific way. I had to let Jane go, but she went peacefully and without much (if any, that we are aware of) pain.
I know I have said this before, but I feel this connection to women who have lost children. It’s like some painful club, and only those in it know the pain but we can all relate to each other. As I have been pondering about Mary I have thought of her being in that club. And if this club had a mentor to everyone, it would be her. Sometimes I feel honored to be Jane’s mom. She is destined to be an heiress in the celestial kingdom with God. She is one of the most valiant and righteous spirits. I feel honored to be chosen to be her mom , or maybe I volunteered in the pre-earth life. Either way, I don’t feel up to the task and I certainly don’t feel like an ‘honorable’ person worthy of being such a pure spirits mother.  But I can try to be.
Then there is Mary. She was so pure, so holy, so faithful and so righteous she was given the honor of being Jesus Christ’s mother. The woman who would provide him a physical body.  A body to the only perfect person ever on this earth and our Savior.  I can’t even imagine the depth of her glory and righteousness to be chosen for that.
So in my difficult moments, I will try to remember Mary.  I will try to remember her sacrifice and let her example buoy me up.

Friday, December 13, 2013

My First Christmas In Heaven

I know this is going to be a very difficult Christmas.  I was so excited to buy Jane-y her first baby doll. I had the one I was going to get picked out. I saw them at Barnes and Nobles yesterday and started crying in the store, grabbed Nate and walked out. 

I hope to be able to keep this Christmas more about Christ this year. About His life, His example, His teachings, His love and most importantly His atonement and resurrection. I know that is typically what we celebrate at Easter, but after all it was the greatest thing He did on this earth and the purpose of His mission here. It was because of that atonement and resurrection that Jane will be ours again someday. So I am going to celebrate that. 

A friend of mine gave me this poem today. It was a tough, but beautiful read.

 It seems like everything we are experiencing right now is like that; tough yet beautiful.  Sometimes you can't have one without the other.

I googled the poem and read that it was written by a 13 year old boy who was dying from a brain tumor. He gave it to his parents before he died. What a beautiful little boy with tremendous faith. 

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below
With tiny lights like Heaven's stars reflecting on the snow.
The sight is so spectacular- please wipe away the tear
For I'm spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear
But the sound of music can't compare with the Christmas choir up here
I have no words to tell you the joys their voices bring
For it's beyond description to hear the angels sing

I know how much you miss me, I see the pain inside your heart
But I am not so far away, we really aren't apart.
So be happy for me dear ones you know I hold you dear
And be glad I'm spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I sent you each a special gift for my heavenly home above,
I sent you each a memory of my undying love. 
After all love is a gift more precious than pure gold.
It was always most important in the stories Jesus told.

Please love and keep each other as my Father said to do.
For I can't count the blessing of love he has for each of you.
So have a merry Christmas and wipe away that tear.

Remember I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

How To Help Heal a Grieving Heart

Something a lot of people have said to me lately is "I don't even know what to say." Or they feel like anything they say isn't going to help. I know I always shied away from these difficult situations because I just didn't know how to handle them. So I thought I would tell you what helps me, and maybe it will help other people in the future too.
Just saying "I love you", "I'm thinking of you", "I'm crying with you" means so much. Simple things. You aren't going to fix this, so don't feel like you need to wait to have some profound words before you say anything. Really anything helps.
I have a wonderful church family in our area who has lifted a lot of burden for us. Mowing our lawn, decorating our house, hanging up lights, bringing meals, stocking our fridge, cleaning our house, picking up kids are some ways they have a served us. That has been been so helpful. We haven't had to worry about those physical things and were able to focus on our grieving and healing.
The financial donations we have received have been overwhelming and humbling. I haven't said anything about them yet on the blog because I didn't feel like I had the words sufficient enough to express my gratitude. Every donation we received felt like a giant hug. Picking burial plots, a casket, flowers, traveling expenses and all those decisions were so difficult and physically sickening. Seriously, I was having to take Zofran for my nausea because I felt so ill. I cannot imagine having to make those decisions under the stress of finances. We felt so blessed to be able to pick whatever we wanted. We were even able to buy two extra burial plots next to Jane for Bryan and I. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your generosity.
Hugs help. I have never been a huggy person, but I am now. It is a wonderful expression of love and they just feel good.
Sharing the faith you have, or even the faith you hope to have or wish you had. It inspires me and reminds me that I too have faith, it's just a little buried sometimes under numbness and heartache. But it's there.
Knowledge is power and I have found a lot of peace and strength in reading what prophets have revealed about the death of children. Where they are, what they are doing, why they were taken, when I will see Jane again and how it is possible that she receives salvation though she hasn't received her saving ordinances yet. A book that has been especially helpful is called Angel Children by Mary V. Hill, it is available on amazon for $8. She lost a son and spent a lot of time researching the subject in the scriptures and what modern day prophets have revealed. I have prayed specifically about the things I have read and have felt a strong peace of heart and mind. That is how the Holy Ghost confirms truth.
Prayers! I have believed in the power of prayer in the past, but I have gained a whole lot stronger testimony of it recently. It is powerful and it helps! I have shared this thought a few times already, but I know God hears everyone's prayers. Whether you are experienced or it is your first time.  Whether you're muslim, jewish, catholic, baptist, mormon, atheist, anything else or just unsure; if you put an effort into praying it will be heard.  Heavenly Father takes your prayers in high regard. When they are said for our family, he blesses you and us for it. So prayers, lots of prayers help. Truly.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


So I don't really know where to start. This week and a half we have felt so much love surround us. That doesn't mean we haven't experienced pain and sorrow that made it unbearable to even stand, but we have felt so many prayers helping to pick us back up.

I have learned why when we are baptized we are commanded to "mourn with those that mourn." (Mosiah 18:9) God can do anything, but He wants us to put forth effort sometimes too (Doctrine and Covenants 9:7). When all of our family and friends put forth that effort to mourn with us, cry for us and pray with us; He turned that into strength for Bryan and I. He hears your prayers and is sending them to help make our breaths a little easier. So thank you so very much, you have been the only way we have survived this week.

Tuesday morning started out with a trip to the temple. In a earlier post I spoke of the peace and perspective it brought so I wanted to start my day there. As I sat in the celestial room I was terrified to leave, Bryan mentioned it felt, like Adam and Eve, we were walking out into the "loan and dreary world." It was going to be a hard day.

This body wasn't her, but it was still the body that I created, loved, held, snuggled and kissed constantly. I felt like I said goodbye at the hospital, so yesterday was difficult but it wasn't any new emotions.

It was really nice to see so many old friends and people who have meant so much to me over the years. My college roommates came together, my young women leaders, our wedding photographer drove up from Vegas. A handful of friends from our undergrad days in Cedar City, some friends from Vermont who are back living in the west. High school friends, Bryan's mission president. This is just scraping the tip of the iceberg of people who came. I think the Ellis' won furthest traveled, they were here from Vermont. And I got to meet their perfect 3 month old baby girl and hold her. It feels so good to have my arms full with a baby again. If anyone needs a baby holder, I volunteer.

My dad gave the family prayer before we closed the casket. The boys gave sweet kisses, notes and a teddy bear to Jane. We closed the casket and Janes pallbearers were Grandpa Jim, Grandpa Bret, Bryan, Ethan and Nate. They were awfully cute holding the casket and "helping." Our service started with " I Am A Child Of God" and a prayer by Grandma Debbie. Grandpa Bret read the obituary then Ethan gave a sweet talk. Now you have to know that Ethan is terrified of getting up to even sing a song with the primary at church, so when he got up with no problem that was a pretty big deal. Nate really wanted to say something too so Bryan held him up and he said "I love my Janey." Then Bryan spoke. I tried so hard to focus and although I was hearing his words and thought they were sweet, I don't remember much of what he said. I know he said afterwards he felt like he couldn't express what he had in his heart. His love for Jane isn't possible to say in words. My cousin sang "I Know That My Redeemer Lives", it is my favorite hymn. Then President Elder spoke, he conducted the meeting. He is the former bishop of my in-laws ward and currently in the stake presidency. He spoke a lot about doctrine. Jane is in spirit paradise right now with our Savior (Alma 40:11-12). He read a scripture that said the moment little children's spirits leave their body they are taken to the "bosom of Abraham" (Luke 16:22) which basically means where the most righteous dwell. She has earned her fast pass to the highest degree of the celestial kingdom (Doctrine and Covenants 137:10) because she has no sin (Moroni 8:8). After the Savior comes again and Jane is resurrected (and Bryan and I if we die before then as well) we will have the opportunity to have her back, as a glorified and perfect 1 year old and will raise her until she reaches adulthood (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph F Smith Chapter 15). The only difference is that it will be in the presence of the Lord, in a perfect world. We will never have to worry about making mistakes, satan will be bound. It is a lot to look forward to and I am grateful for the knowledge we have of God's plan of salvation. Knowledge brings comfort. But it doesn't take away grief.

I know that there is a lot to be learned about grief, how it can mold us and make us better, more compassionate and closer to our Savior who has felt all the pain and sorrow that I am now feeling. But sometimes it is just scary and hard. It's meant to be, but that doesn't mean I will probably ever enjoy it.

There have been a lot of women who have reached out to me who have lost children. I feel instantly connected to them. I have a few friends of friends, women I have never met who have emailed me about what I can expect to feel. Also, my grandma (fathers mother) lost her daughter (my aunt) when she was 12 years old to cancer. I love my grandma and admire her, always have. But when she hugged me, she was sobbing and couldn't talk. She looked into my eyes and I just felt this connection to her I have never felt before. She knew. She didn't need to say anything and I didn't need to hear anything from her, I just knew what she was "saying".

All of these women have said the same thing about what I can expect:
- The next few months are going to be the hardest. That scares me. The shock and numbness wear off, flowers die, the messages taper off, and reality sets in.
- I have a lifetime of grief ahead of me that will knock me off my feet at unexpected times. That also scares me.
- Grief comes and goes in waves, good days and bad days. Even good days have bad hours and bad days have good hours.
- They all say I will never be the same person again, I have been through too much and learned so much.

I just hope all of my friends that have learned to like who I was over all these years will still like being around the "new Christy." Probably a bit more serious and somber Christy.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Our last few days

I have been on a rollercoaster of emotions the last few days. Wednesday night our bishop and his wife came over and we cried, mourned, laughed until we cried and had a great time. It felt good, we are truly blessed with an amazing bishop and his wife.

Friday was a hard day. My anxiety was full tilt about flying with Jane's body to Salt Lake City. Flying in itself is a stressful thing, it doesn't scare me but it is stressful. Then add to that our circumstances and it was just too much. My mom had given me a Xanax and I took that, it didn't even touch my anxiety. I have taken Xanax maybe twice before that and it worked wonderfully. But seriously, Xanax had nothing on this anxiety. It was that bad.

 It was so strange being around people living their normal lives. Their lives are still moving forward while mine feels like it is on a giant plateau. Stuck.  I have been in this bubble of support, love, mourning, understanding and prayer; to go out into real life was so uncomfortable. I wondered what people thought of that lady with constant tears in her eyes and frown on her face. Who is she anyways, I don't know. I don't like being that person, but a smile is just too fake right now. The flight ended up being great, I felt totally fine. It was like my anxiety was just lifted off my shoulders for a few hours. Thank you Heavenly Father.

Then I received the best tender mercy. When we were waiting for our bags at the carousel I saw a dear friend's mom. I barely recognized her but before I even thought the words, I blurted out "Are you Alyssa's mom?!". When I told her who I was she held me and cried with me and brought me a lot of comfort, she knows her share of grief, way too much in fact. My friend who I hadn't seen in about 2 years was picking up her mom so I was able to go give her a hug and it felt so good to see a friend who could comfort me in such an uncomfortable place.

Today (Saturday) we had to go pick out a casket, a plot, flowers, plan a program and do all the awful things that have to be done to lay Jane's mortal body to rest. I have always said "no mother should ever have to bury her child" and I still believe that. It is awful, truly awful. I also said I could absolutely never handle losing a child, but here I am. I wouldn't say I'm handling it, whatever that even entails.

Right now I am laying on the couch with Bryan at his parents house. The BYU football is on, though I'm not paying attention to the game at the moment; football still feels good to watch. It is just the routine that is soothing. Huddle, line up, snap the ball, run the play, repeat. I love watching sports with Bryan.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

One breath at a time

Mornings are the hardest for me. Every night I feel ok, not great, but ok. Then I go to sleep and wake up at 4 am. My body is still scheduled to wake up then, it was Jane's morning feeding. I hadn't made her sleep through the night yet, I didn't have the heart to and I am oh so grateful I never did. When I wake up I have this instant rush of anxiety that washes over my body. And my arms physically ache, they ache for my baby. I haven't been getting out of bed until around 10. I usually lay in bed and read talks, thoughts, scriptures or other things everyone is sending me on Facebook, the blog, text and email. It helps me cope until I can get out of bed. Im sorry if i havent responded to you if you have sent me something, sometimes Ijust dont have the words. Bryan has been getting the boys off to school. And then going for a run, it has been good for him to run.

He got an email today with his December schedule and he got a lot of anxiety about it. He isn't sure if he will be able to go back. Troy (my nephew who is 5 days younger then Jane) chocked on some food and threw up. It was really hard for Bryan to process since that is the last thing Jane did (throw up) before she stopped breathing in his arms. I worry about him, I have never seen him struggle emotionally, so this is new for both of us. It's hard, he has always been an emotional rock.

My mom and Katie have been taking care of everything. My sister has a lot of strength of mind and spirit, she always has. And her husband Todd, oh sweet Todd. He is my source of laughter. Big, good, belly laughter. I'm so thankful for him.

Each day seriously feels like it lasts 86 hours. It is so so long. I survive minute to minute, breath by breath. And by the power of all of your prayers buoying me up.

House of the Lord

Tonight Bryan, my mom and I went to the temple. In the past my temple experience has always been nice, I go because I know I covenanted to and I feel good when I am there. I haven't had big overwhelming, spiritual experiences while being there like most people say they do. It made me feel bad, like maybe I was doing something wrong. But I kept going because although small and simple, my experiences were nice. 

Tonight though, was wonderful. I felt so much peace. I had questions answered, I had perspective. I still wished I could go home to see my baby girl, but I felt better knowing where she is and that God has a plan for her. I laughed and smiled with Bryan, which felt good.

Recently they have changed the temple program slightly, still same words, but with new meaning. I learned so much, especially with my new perspective on eternal families and the Plan of Salvation. I have read this quote probably 15 times in the last few days from many loving people who have sent it to me. And I thought of it tonight while in the temple. 

 “In my leisure moments I have meditated upon the subject, and asked the question, why it is that infants, innocent children, are taken away from us, especially those that seem to be the most intelligent and interesting. . . . The Lord takes many away even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth; therefore, if rightly considered, instead of mourning we have reason to rejoice as they are delivered from evil, and we shall soon have them again." - Joseph Smith.

One thing that really stuck out to me tonight in the temple is that Satan is real, he is real! He is wicked and deceitful and real. He wants us to fail and he will do whatever it takes. As I thought about how truly terrible he can be, I was so grateful my sweet Jane never has to be near him. When she is resurrected someday and I have her again, it will be a world where Satan will be bound. She will never have to feel his temptations. 

Tomorrow may be another tough one with a lot of pain, but right now I am grateful. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

heartache beyond words

I have always been a pretty open book. For good or bad, that's who I was. I liked sharing my feelings. Right now I don't know who I am. Several people who have been through losing a child have told me I will never be the same person again. I'm trying to accept that and hope that whatever comes of me will be a better version of who I was before. For what greater "refiners fire" is there? The tinges of heartache are physically painful and relentles. The memories of the scary minutes of losing her and Bryan doing CPR on our bathroom counter, shouting her name to react to us are haunting. This stuff only happens to random strangers on the Internet, not me. I already miss being silly and it has only been 3 days. It seems like It will never come back, all I can do is hope.
I read somewhere that when your faith is gone to focus on what you hope to be true. So I hope that families are forever, I knew it once and I hope that comforting knowledge of my testimony will return. I hope my sweet, perfect Jane is in the arms of her Savior, Heavenly Father and family members who have passed. I hope I can live a life worthy to see her again. I hope to be able to make it to tomorrow. I feel numb and sad all the time, everything I do I think I should be doing it with her. I feel like I have anxiety and depression running through my veins in every ounce of my body. My boobs ache as I am trying to dry up my milk. The physical pain is sometimes distracting from the heartache though. It was her favorite thing in the world, to nurse. She loved the comfort and I loved the snuggles.
Bryan struggled a lot initially but is doing alright right now. He doesn't know if it is a tender mercy to get through the next few weeks or if he is just able to do this. He has always been the most valiant, strong person.
Ethan gets sad sometimes. He misses her and wants to wish for her to come home. I don't think he totally understands that her mission here is over.
Nate didn't get it all until last night when we were saying family prayers, he kept crying because he wanted Janie back. He kept asking questions about where she is, when she is coming back and how far away heaven is.
We have so many people sending us messages of love and support. It truly helps to know I am not carrying this burden alone, and others are mourning with me. Please keep sending me messages and prayers. It is the only way I am getting through this.