Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lessons Learned from a Dying Man

A little background:
My Grandfather and Grandmother were to peas in a pod, inseparable. They worked for many years as CES supervisors and my Grandma worked as his secretary. They served four missions abroad (South Dakots, New Guinea, Australia, and Tucson, AZ) and at least one, maybe two, close to home. My Grandma died very suddenly about 5 years ago when she had an aneurism burst in her abdomen. She was packing her bags to go on a girls trip with her daughters, she never made the trip. That was the day my Grandpa started dying.

Since then he has tried to keep himself busy with his animals, children, grandchildren. He has never been able to fill the hole in his heart left by his sweetheart. Every January he would come down to visit with his Great-grandchildren in Louisiana. He was a not only the guest but the STAR at our Family Home Evenings when he came to visit. Every January he also got a horrible cold.

The Story:
This January was no different. The cold came right on schedule. He had big plans to come visit us here in Louisiana. My Uncle took him to the doctor for the cold and the doctor did chest x-rays. The x-rays told the ugly truth that changed alot of plans. He would never make the trip to Louisiana. It was cancer, lung cancer, taking up half of his lung capacity, was not operable, 6 months to live. There were a great deal of mixed emotions. He was so happy to learn that it would not be long until he was reunited with his sweetheart. However, when he looked into the wet eyes of those he was leaving he could not help but cry for them.

Those grandkids who live far away decided to each take a turn and fly out to be with him for a few days while he was still feeling relatively well. My turn came four days after our trip the Disney. Eric valiantly took on the three kids, stomach virus and all! When I walked into his house I expected to see a dying man. Quite the opposite, I saw a man who was finishing living! We had a fun-filled few days. He informed me that he did not cook and McDonalds was providing most of his meals these days. We went in the morning to the "Old Boys Club". You see, my Grandfather lives in a small farming community in Northern Utah and the "Old Boys" of the town meet together at Burger King every morning to visit, swap stories and try to solve the world's issues amongst themselves. I was schooled in the ways of raising chickens, and learned that horses are all dark meat. Who knew? More importantly I was close with my Grandpa doing what he loved to do. We took daily naps and I had a chance to impress him by doing a pull-up! I cooked a big breakfast for him which he told me that no one did for him (except when my own Mom would come to visit him) since my Grandma died. On my last night there we watched a WWII documentary and I probably asked him 756 questions. He was willing to answer every single one. I learned more in those two hours than I had every learned in school about WWII.

I was leaving early in the morning so after our movie, he turned to me and let me know how much he appreciated and enjoyed our visit. We had mostly talked and let him rest alot, but not a moment was wasted. He told me he loved me and that I probably wouldn't see him again so this was "Goodbye". He was stalwart and I was a mess. There he was comforting the living while he was dying. He told me has nothing to fear on the other side and is at peace. He is sad to leave but excited to leave on this new adventure. He told me that he felt a little like he did when we would leave on a mission except that this time he would not be coming back. He didn't know what he would find but he knew it was the right thing and was excited for the adventure. I went in my room, called Eric and cried. I suspect that he went to his room and cried too. He admitted to me earlier in the week that he does that from time to time.

The entire trip gave me time to reflect on where I was and where I wanted to go. Am I going to be that peaceful when the time comes? Would I be ready to go now? What is important to me? Am I valuing those things or wasting time on things that don't matter? Am I really living or just being acted upon? Lessons learned from a dying man. I would not have traded those few days for all of the money in the world.

My cousin Reed invited us over for dinner one night. This is him with his ADORABLE little boy Peter (2) and Mastiff dog Miley. I wanted to sneak Peter into my suitcase and bring him home! Miley is only a few months old here! Mastiffs are the coolest dog on the planet!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Be Still

Saturday night found me gearing myself up for a long week ahead. We had just gotten home from my Dad's retirement dinner (yeah Dad!) and Sunday was going to come early, be long, and be followed up with an incredibly long week. Sunday we woke up to a sick Mya who was allowed to stay home from church with Eric. I was teaching Relief Society so I had to go, Austin and Aliyah in tow. A couple short hours after our traditional Sunday breakfast-for-lunch, Eric left for High Council meetings. He made it back in time for me to be only 5 mins late to the youth fireside. Here were my plans for the rest of the week.

Monday-Parent/Teacher conference, planting a container garden, cleaning up the house, Family Home Evening

Tuesday-Visiting Teaching all morning, volunteering in Mya's class all afternoon

Wednesday- cleaning my mother's house, making my house company ready, mutual

Thursday- Field trip with Austin in New Orleans

Friday- Honor Roll assembly for Austin, Easter Party for Mya, kids out of school early for the start of spring break, company comes into town

Here's how the week is looking in reality so far-

Monday- Parent/Teacher conference, Mya running fever, home to clean the house, doctor appointment to find out that Mya has pneumonia!

Tuesday-laying in bed for literally four hours with the girls dosing off and on, finishing house cleaning to show it, Eric takes us to Sonic for dinner

Rest of the week- Stay home and take care of Mya, Eric to go to Field Trip, me to be home catching up on laundry and doing lots of snuggling

I am being made to BE STILL. I grateful for every minute I am getting to sit on the couch and watch cartoons with my girls. The crying is getting old from Aliyah but I am taking a week to soak it all in rather than watch it all pass by in a blur.

On another note:
I can't wait for the summer so I can "be still" with all of my kiddos all day. Days in the swimming pool with crackers and apples slices for lunch under the sun umbrella; mornings at the free movie for the Kids Summer Movie Camp; completing the entire summer reading program within the first few days of signing up; playing in the sprinklers; spending the night in the cabin complete with sand beach, fishing and critter collecting. Bring on the "be still" summer.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Surprise! We live!

Well, I am sure most of have given up on me. Have no fear, we are still alive and kicking. I love reading blogs but am a pathetic blogger myself.

We have been so very busy these days. My children are growing like weeds which lends itself to more out-of-the-house activities. Usually, I am pretty fierce when it comes to protecting our at home time, but this winter/spring we found that we could fit in basketball and gymnastics for Austin and Mya respectively and still have peaceful evenings.

Austin is actually finished with his season at the time if this post. He was pleasantly surprised by how fun and organized the league was. Some of the boys on the team wanted to be called the Jets like the football team. Austin and his cousin Merrick felt "the cougars" would be more appropriate. Only a little BYU brainwashing around here! My brother Seth and Eric, the coaches, and held a vote. The "Jets" won and the team won about half of their games. However, much improvement was seen!!! They went from swarming the ball and taking it from their own team and to getting open for passes and setting picks, a victory in my book!

Mya is only about half way through with her gym. Actually, she was moved up to a more advanced class because she had mastered the beginning class in the first month and it was supposed to last four. The biggest news about the move? She now gets to wear a leotard which is a BIG dang deal to a 5 year old girl! Now she is working on the four olympic events, floor, vault, bars and beam. She is in gym heaven and it is the highlight of her week! Her cousin Cali in Utah is also quiet the gymnast so maybe it is a Bascom thing! She fell on the beam (which was only about a 6 inch drop) last night while trying to do a handstand and was a little guarded after that but I think she will get over it soon enough.

Aliyah is almost three and thinks she is 16. I love that sassy little thing. She is my little buddy and melts my heart when she sings ALL day long. She is really starting to need some playtime with friends but I am loving having her all to myself. I only have 2 years until all of my children are in school. What will I do with myself?!?

Eric is busy busy at work which is on fire lately! They are beginning to be quite established and well known in the community. He is also running around with the high council most every Sunday and serving as the East Ascension Rotary Club president. He is also still working out like a mad man. He started P90X again with me in tow. Still on the fence about how I like it but we are 9 weeks in so way too late to give up now. The results are amazing but its not a miracle program. You literally work your tushy right off. No gimmicks just good old fashioned hard work...

I am obviously busy with the aforementioned exercise routine. In addition I am working in the Young Women's program with Personal Progress and whatever else they need me for. Of course the normal house work included and it gets busy. I have become a food storage maniac lately. I could write a whole blog just on what I have learned in the last few months. Storing, cooking, etc. Maybe I will...
In other news we taken three trips(well i have taken three the others, two) in the last month and am grateful for the down time.

#1 Family vacay with Eric's mom to Disney!
#2 Trip to see my dying Grandfather. Just me, awe inspiring trip that I will post more on later
#3 Trip to Dallas to see my niece baptized. Short and sweet. A little too short but very sweet.

Oh, here is really big news!! My parents were called to be Area Humanitarian Supervisors for the Southern Half of AFRICA!! They leave next month and will be back in two years! We couldn't be happier for them.

Here is a little teaser of pics:

Aliyah got the camera. Eric looks so tall to her!

Must have a picture here. Yes, Chrisie's arm is in a sling. She broke it when she fell on some ice a couple days before. The kids had to put on her shoes,socks and cast every morning. I think they really enjoyed it and I loved seeing them serve her in that capacity. I thought she would be doing those things for them but this time the tables were turned.
This is my brother Jared. He is the oldest and I am the youngest. We were in Dallas to see him baptize his oldest daughter, Brittany.
All the kids and spouses minus Courtney, Seth's wife. We missed you!
Seth, Josh, Elli, Shane, Tawnya, Me, Eric, Tracy and Jared. (All the boys (except Eric) are my brothers.)

My parents and all their grandkids minus Rush who stayed home with his mom, Courtney. He is almost a year.

Me and My Grandapa.
My Dad and the map with all of our guesses on where they would be called on their mission. One in state and one out for each person. My guesses were Latvia and Alabama.
At our lake in Mississippi. Tawnya and I paddle boating the kids around. I have the ponytail and Tawnya's in the red sweater. Kids: l-r Mya, Aliyah and Jack. Annabelle is steering in the front and Joe is climbing his mother!!

Well, here's to me being better. We'll see...