Monday, August 27, 2012

birthday girl

Last week, Sunday the 19th, was Quincy's birthday. I have been dreading this day since Q passed because I knew it was going to be hard. And it was. We didn't want to pretend like it wasn't an important day, but really didn't know what we were supposed to do. There was nothing to celebrate. But it is still her day, and always will be.

We decided to do a family BBQ and then visit the cemetery in honor of her short, sweet life. At the cemetery we sent balloons up to heaven and put gifts at her "headstone". Everyone was so thoughtful bringing her things they knew she would love. Doggies, bubbles, babies and purses with love notes, flowers and pretty things. I'm sure she was there and I'm sure she was thrilled. I wish I could have seen her face.

I have to be honest, as positive as I try to be, I have really been struggling. Planning this get together was extremely heartbreaking. It brought back so many memories of last years BBQ in Wallsburg when Q turned 1. I made her a cake and bought her gifts and balloons. It was so much fun. Val and Kathy were there. Everyone was there. Q was the center of attention and she loved it. I was looking so forward to many more of these memories. And this birthday was far from what I ever imagined. There are quite a few little ones that have or are turning 2 these last few months and it breaks my heart to see them and hear about their parties. I so badly wanted to see Q turn 2, and 12 and 18 and 45.

I know that I will never get the experience on this earth to see her open gifts and blow out candles and play with balloons. I will never see her grow and mature. I will always wonder what she would have been like. I constantly notice little girls around me and try to imagine what Q would be doing if she were here. I wonder what she would look like as she grew older. Would she like her hair long or short? What would her favorite color be? What would she wear on her first day to kindergarten? Would she continue to love babies and girly things? Would she hunt with her daddy like he looked so forward to? I will never know these things.

But I do know something wonderful. I know she is a valiant daughter of God. I know she is ok and she lives. I know she is in heaven with our Savior. I know she is with her grandparents and her siblings. I know she will watch and make sure these little ones will make it here safely to this earth and give them pointers on how to make the best of this life. I know she is watching over Brady and I, helping us make it through each day. She came to this earth by much faith and many prayers. She was strong and she was bold. She was tender and caring. She was wonderful. She was ours and she changed mine and Brady's life forever. We are sad and we are lonely and we struggle every single day. We miss our little sweetheart more than we will ever be able to express.

Happy Birthday Quincy. Wish you were here to sing to us.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012


I have been so caught up in my sorrow of losing my sweet daughter that I haven't even been able to deal with the loss of two other extremely wonderful people. It still doesn't seem real that Val and Kathy are gone as well. When I really think about it, it just doesn't seem possible. Maybe because they weren't a part of my daily life I feel like they are still here. At their home. Making dinner. Getting ready for bed.

In a few days Brady and I are going to move into Val and Kathy's house. I am going to honest, I am not sure that I am ok with this. I so badly don't want to leave my home, because it is comfortable and it is mine and I love it. I don't know if I can handle another big change right now. But my home is also a painful place to be. I see Quincy all over this house. She was so much a part of why I loved this place that without her here it's a sad place. But all in the same breath, I don't want to leave because I will miss seeing her here. Part of me wants to start new memories in this house with her brother so that it won't be so hard to leave. I'm so torn. It's all bittersweet. But Brady and I have made a decision that we feel good about and that is to move. Have you ever made a decision you don't like, but feel like it's the best thing to do, so you do it? I guess we have to trust that someone knows better than we do.

It is going to be hard to live in Val and Kathy's house because there are lots of priceless memories there too. We have had some wonderful times in that home. But in a way I also feel like living there is kind of an honor. I feel like we will be able to feel a little closer to them by being in their space and using the things they used. And we will think about them more, which will be hard, but good.

A few weeks ago Brady and I were visiting with some of his sisters and their husbands and the word tremendous came up. It's a word that Val used often, which we all agreed was kind of funny. But I think that word is perfect for Val and Kathy because they were tremendous. In the short time that I got to know them I learned so many valuable things that I will always remember.

Val was so valiant. He taught me about service. He was currently the bishop of his ward and was always serving his members. He truly loved those people and talked about them often. There were so many Sunday dinners that he would come late and leave early because someone needed him. I have had countless people tell me that because of Val, their lives were turned around. He was a great servant and he was always prompting us to do what was right. Val was a great father. Brady could call him any time of any day and he would drop what he was doing to lend a hand. He and Kathy always made us feel so welcome in their home by putting down whatever they were doing to visit with us. They made us feel so important. Val taught me about hard work. He didn't always feel great but he always worked hard until the job was done right. Along with his ward, he also took time to take care of Grandma Lee. He took her to Dr. appointments and the temple and lunch. He was truly her friend. He served willingly. Val truly was tremendous.

Kathy taught me who I want to be. She taught me about patience and love and sacrifice. I don't think I have or ever will meet another person that was as patient and kind as Kathy. She always put others first. Always. I never once saw her get impatient or lose her temper. I never heard her say an unkind word. She never made me feel bad about myself or what I was doing. I feel like she loved me as much as one of her own children and I loved her as much as my own mother. She taught me how to let things go and not make a big deal. She taught me how to be flexible. By her example she taught me how to love Brady unconditionally, who is so much like his dad. She raised eight children who are happy and get along and love each other, which is amazing. She was tremendous.

When I write these things, I miss Val and Kathy more than I realize. We take such little things for granted and until they are gone, we don't know how blessed we are. I will always remember the things that I have learned from my wonderful parents-in-law and I hope that I can teach my children to be like them, even though they won't get to know them on this earth. I am thankful that they are watching over my sweet little Quincy. It brings peace to know they are all up there together. Three tremendous people.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Dear little boy,

I am starting your letters early. I am getting way too anxious for you to come. I am now 33 weeks pregnant, with 7 weeks left until you get here. Maybe more. Hopefully less. I am so ready to meet you and hold you and smell you and smother you.

When I first found out you were a boy I was excited, but not quite as excited as your dad. He is so happy to have a boy coming that he can share his interests with. When we found out you are a boy, we said that our world was perfect. We had our girl, and soon our boy. It couldn't get any better. Just 3 days later, your beautiful sister was taken home to heaven and our world changed. Our world shattered. I hate to say this, but as much as I should have been grateful for you to be in my belly at that time, I was not. I was mad. I was mad that Quincy was gone. I was mad that you were a boy and not a girl. I was mad at everything.

As time has continued on and we have continued to learn to live without Q, we have tried to focus on you. We have started gathering things to change a girls room to a boys. We have gone through toys and blankets and clothes and saved some of your sweet sisters things for you to enjoy. We have gotten ultrasounds and talked about names and daydreamed what you are going to look and act like. We have been learning to say "he" instead of "she". We are starting to heal from the unbearable pain of losing your sister and beginning to imagine our new future with you, Quincy's brother. I am now, with time, beyond happy that you are in my belly and that you are a boy, I am ready for you.

As much as I feel I am ready for you, I hope you are ready for me. I am really unsure how I am going to be when you get here. I know that the joy of you coming is going to help push out some of the sorrow I feel for Q, but I'm unsure how my heart is going to handle two such extreme emotions. I'm scared. I hope that I can be strong for you and I hope that you are a good boy for me. We can work together and things will be great. I know that you are what I need to heal and continue to move forward. You are going to make me a mom again. I can't even tell you how excited I am to be your mom. You have pretty big shoes to fill little guy. I'm telling you now, your sister was awesome. She was very special and everyone loved her. She was outgoing and smart and happy and energetic. She was wonderful. I know you will be too.

I hope that you are enjoying your last few moments with your sister and that you are learning from her. In the short time that she was here we learned so much from her. Make sure to tell her thanks for teaching us to be better parents. We will forever cherish every moment with you and your other siblings, as we are now so aware that we are not in charge of how long we will get to have you. We loved every minute with Quincy and will do our best to enjoy every minute with you.

Come soon little boy.

We love you already.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

blessings among tragedy

Today is August 7th, marking 3 months since we lost our little angel. It seems like a lifetime. I would love to write a post and say that as time has passed I am doing great and things are wonderful. But they are not. And I am not. I am sad. And I am so tired of being sad all the time, but I am. This trial has been far more painful and heartbreaking than I ever could have imagined. I want so badly to be happy and carefree like I used to be, but I feel like that will never happen again for me. I just don't know how I can truly be one hundred percent happy until I am with my little doll. I know that one day I will feel that joy that I am promised when we are reunited, but until then I feel like I am going to have to create a new happy. I am going to have to learn to find joy in new things. I will always have a sadness, but I hope as time continues the pain will ease more and more and I will feel happiness and joy more and more.

I have a sad heart today as I think about the 7th of May, just 3 short month ago. The time we spent in the hospital with Quincy and the heavy, permanent decisions we were forced to make. The pain and fear and horror. The sadness and the shock. I feel like I was so numb during that time. I feel like I was so much stronger during that time. I feel like I have become so much weaker since then. I have never prayed so hard as I did in that hospital bathroom, on my knees, pleading for my daughters life. From the time we got the phone call to the time we let Q go I was in one giant, constant prayer. And I know the Lord could have saved her, but he didn't. And now, somehow, I have to find peace in that. I have to trust that He needed her more on His side than I do on mine, which is so hard to convince myself of.

As I think about the horrible accident and all the pain from that day, I feel like in the midst of all the turmoil we were surrounded by countless blessings. When I get overwhelmed and sad and think about the details of that day, I try to focus on those blessings.

While in Moab Quincy called Brady and I with Kathy's help and told us she loved us. Kathy said she had been begging all day to call and talk to us. At the time I didn't know that was the last time I would ever talk to her, but what a huge blessing for her to want to call us. I feel like she just wanted to make sure we knew that she loved us.

The timing in the canyon and where we were when we got the call of the accident couldn't have been better. I feel like we were in the exact spot we needed to be. We were planning on taking a jeep ride that morning and coming home later in the evening, but Saturday our friends jeep broke down. If we would have gone on the ride Sunday morning, we would have been in Moab still when we heard about the accident. That would have been a long, frantic, 4 hour drive home. A huge blessing we weren't still in Moab.

Our friends are early birds and since the morning ride wasn't an option anymore they wanted to get up at 6 and come straight home. We talked them into going to breakfast first which stalled us in getting home. If we would have gotten home earlier Brady would have been at the house and would have gotten the page and responded to the accident, which would have been awful. Another blessing.

As we were coming up the canyon, Brady's friend text him and asked where we were and told him there was an accident and that the canyon was closed. We didn't know at the time it was our family, but talked about going up and around Salt Lake because we were anxious to get home and we were supposed to pick up Q. We had decided to go through the canyon and just wait it out and not waste the gas. As 2 ambulances passed us and we saw life flight leave Brady had said that if we could get close enough he would jump out and help since it looked like a bad one. We were stopped about a mile away from the scene, another blessing we weren't any closer than we were.

We got stopped at the Wallsburg turn and I kept getting the feeling to have Brady call his friend and ask if he knew how long the wait would be, I was really anxious to get home to Q. He did, and that's when we found out it was our family in the accident. We were in a place where we don't usually get service. Another blessing the call was even able to go through and that we were close enough to get the the hospital quick.

We were with our good friends, the McPhie's and I am so glad Brady and I weren't driving. When I found out that it was Val and Kathy's car in the accident and Kathy had already passed and Q was in really bad shape I think I went into shock a little. I don't remember anything about driving to the hospital except people yelling at us for going up the wrong side of the road and yelling back "It's our family!!" And the carseat. I vividly remember the carseat on the side of the road next to the mangled, cut apart Altima that was Kathy's. Sickening. To be with Jake and Megan who are so level headed and calm was a HUGE blessing.

The fire chief was just leaving the scene and escorted us to the hospital. Jakesaid he was going 92 as Megan said a prayer. We got to the hospital just as they were loading Q into lifeflight but gave us a quick minute to give her a blessing and kiss and touch her. That brought great peace to me. To see her hooked to those machines was heartbreaking but to be able to give her a quick blessing and let her know that mommy and daddy were there brought great comfort to me.

That the accident was Kathy's fault is actually a blessing to me. I trusted no one more than Kathy with Quincy. I don't know what happened and why she crossed lanes, I will never know, but I have complete confidence that she wasn't being neglegant and that it truly was an accident. I know she loved Quincy more than anything and would have done anything in her power to avoid all of this.

Kassidy. I am so thankful that she is ok. She has a long road ahead of her but her life is such a wonderful blessing. She is a strong little girl.

The fact that I was able to get pregnant again and to have a little boy growing inside my belly, another wonderful blessing. Sometimes I forget to be grateful for him because I long for Quincy so badly and I have so many mixed feelings about him coming. At first I was mad that he was a boy because all I know is girl and everyone tells me how different boys are. I don't want anything different. I want Q. But as time continues I am truly grateful he's a boy and that he will be different. I hope there's enough of Q in him we can be reminded of her, but he is a blessing and we are counting the days until he gets here.

I know there are other things I haven't mentioned, but as I reflect on the whole experience I'm just amazed that we survived it and we are doing as well as we are. I know that we were surrounded by our 3 angels and that they have helped us tremendously. It's hard. Every day is hard. Everything is hard. There isn't one minute that I don't think of Quincy or Kathy or Val. Everything around me reminds me of one of them. I often have a tear in my eye, but I'm learning to smile about the memories and focus on the great things we got to share with all of them and not as much the fact that they aren't here anymore. My sister in law told me something that I have thought about so much lately. She said that sometimes these people, although so important in our lives, are taken back to heaven because they can help us more from that side than they could here. I feel like I need Q here to survive this life, but I have to trust that I need her help from that side more. She will be able to do things now that weren't in her power here on this earth. I have to remember the bigger picture and learn to trust and continue to watch for the blessings. Because we are so blessed.