Monday, April 24, 2017

I had a dream . . .

April 24, 2017 

Two days ago (on Saturday) I sat down next to a gal in my neighborhood at one of my youngest son's basketball games. I can't remember exactly what we were talking about, but we somehow got on the random topic of loved ones who have died and feeling their presence from the other side. I always had the belief that once my Mom passed away, I would feel her often. It hasn't been the case unfortunately. I had just decided that she must be keeping real busy over there on the other side. Although my thoughts are with her often, I haven't felt like I have had a real experience when I felt her presence.

Until now. I think I may have had my first experience with feeling like she was there . . like I actually spent some time with her! Yesterday (Sunday), in the early hours of the morning, I had a dream, and the dream even woke me up, earlier than I wanted to get up.  It's not too often that I can remember much about my dreams but this one seemed different.  It was so fresh on my mind and it seemed so real! It was random and a bit strange, but I guess that's how dreams are, right?  

This is what I remember . . I was at Costco with my Mom and my Dad and my sister Paige. We were walking up and down the isles talking and shopping. I don't remember much of what was said or too many specifics, but I do remember how I felt and one thing that my Mom said right before I woke up. The mood was light and happy, and in reference to my Dad, she said, "There's one thing I want you to remember, and that is . . he's mine and only mine!" It was said in a playful sort of way, the way she used to be with my Dad when she would give him a big smoocheroo right in front of us, or when she would "jibby our buns" (soft pinches on our behinds that is a common occurrence amongst my Mom and her siblings. :)) My Mom and Dad were walking in front of us playfully holding hands, which was not a common site to see with them. They were not known to hold hands in public much that I can remember. The visual will forever be in my mind of them walking out the exit doors of Costco smiling and holding hands. I had the feeling that this was a rare occasion with my Mom and was not going to last long, so I hurriedly tried to get my phone out to take their picture as they held hands . . . but I didn't quite make it before I woke up. Haha I wish I could take photos that would last in our dreams! I guess my memory will have to do! 

This might not sound like any big deal, but it felt so real to me.  I felt like I had just seen her and spent some time with her.  I woke up with a headache so I got up to take some medicine and as I sat and recalled this dream, the tears came back. I think these might be my first tears in a few months as time has definitely made my tears fewer and farther between.  The tears flowed freely for probably 10 minutes. They were tears of happiness for feeling like she is so happy, and for the great sadness I feel at the same time. I miss her so darn much sometimes that I can hardly stand it!  

I have to look at this experience as a little tender mercy . . . as a small message from my Mom that all is well and good over there on the other side. Yes, perhaps it was just a dream and a dream only . . . but I am going to look at it as a bit more than that! My Dad sometimes makes the comment that he hopes my Mom remembers him and still likes him when they finally get to reunite. I hope this gives him some comfort that of course she will remember him, she's happy and is patiently waiting for their reunion when they will get to spend eternity with each other!   

Dreams are peculiar things!  But I am ever so grateful! Hopefully there will be similar dreams down the road!

Here are a couple of my Moms journal entries from the late winter and early spring of 1981, exactly 36 years ago when I had just turned 12 years old . . . in her own handwriting! The first one is just a random journal entry with a picture she drew of her infected eyes . . . I thought it was cute and funny! And I've posted this last journal entry before, but it's just too good not to post again and again . . . this time it's in her own handwriting!  I want for all of her posterity to read it!  Such a good message! 



 
Thanks for setting such a great example for us, Mom!  Love you so much! xoxox
 



Sunday, January 22, 2017

One year anniversary!

January 22, 2017

Visiting the cemetery this week!
We just hit the one year anniversary of Mom's passing this past week . . . January 18th! She died on Monday, Martin Luther King Day at 9:27pm, but this year the 18th came just a few days after Martin Luther King Day . . this past Wednesday.  We honored Mom by taking flowers to her grave site at the cemetery and then we went to dinner as a family with everyone that lives in town . . to Chuck-a-rama.  For some reason my family (my boys) are just really fond of that place and I have even grown to like it too. That's a tradition I hope to keep up through the years!  The weather was cold and wet, so we didn't stay long, but we stayed long enough to talk about her for a few minutes, leave flowers and say a family prayer. 

Larkin Cemetery this past week! 
I was surprised at my emotion even one year later. I'm yet to go visit the cemetery without getting choked up and shedding a few tears. I was not able to say much. In the days leading up to the big anniversary, I read many of my old blog entries and watched some of the video slide shows that I made . . just to remember . . and the emotion is definitely still there. Yes, the emotion is short lived and life goes on as normal, but I'm just reminded how much I miss her!  So much!! I often wonder what she is doing and how aware she is about what we are doing and how we are feeling down here. I often find myself saying or thinking, "I wonder what Mom would think of that," or "Mom would sure love to be here right now!"  I hope she is having a great old party up there in heaven!  I'm sure she is beyond happy and keeping busy and that makes me happy!  

I think I've mentioned this before but the passage of time is a strange thing.  Part of me can't believe it's already been a year since her death and funeral, as it seems like just a few weeks ago we were visiting her at the care center and preparing for her funeral. But then the other part of me feels like I haven't seen her for years and years!  It's just so interesting.  

Well I'm sure that this next part of my blog may be a bit of a bore to some of you who did not know my Mom personally, but I want to continue to record journal entries in this blog for future posterity. I want her grand kids and great grand kids and us kids to know the real her, and remember how she was before the disease. She will not want to be remembered for her disease and her last 14 years!  Her journals are fascinating to read and are such good reminders of what a full and busy and service-oriented life she lived! Reading her journals makes me want to do more, serve more, volunteer more, be more patient and just love more! Her days were busy, challenging, joyful, difficult, fun, and mostly happy!  It amazes me that with all that she had going on, she still managed to find time to write in her journal . . . usually while she was on a trip or vacation, which was often!  How lucky we are to have these journals! Makes me realize how I need to be better in that area! 
Paige at the cemetery!

Here are just some random journal entries that I have chosen . . . 

December 7, 1978 (I was almost 10 when our first dog Chuckie had to be put to sleep! :( )
Our dog Chuck was unable to move his back legs and was still incontinent.  Took him to the vet where I was told he had a disc problem that was putting pressure on his spinal cord.  That explains the diarrhea messes on our rug that I have had to clean up. After a traumatic afternoon and many tears, it was decided to put him to sleep.  Both Paige and Mardi were very upset and cried.  I cried all that night and had red swollen eyes.  I didn't even know I liked him that much.  I just kept feeling that maybe I should have waited several days to see what would have happened.  

October 13, 1979 (Embarrassing moment!)
Today something kind of embarrassing -- Smoke started pouring out of one of the electrical outlets in our bedroom. I thought the house was going to go up in flames so I called the Fire Dept. They sent out a truck and four men -- were very nice but it was only a faulty electrical outlet which Mike replaced . . after giving me a little razzing.  Oh well. . such is the life of a frenzied housewife. 

September 12, 1980 in St. George, Utah (Craziness with 4 kids ages 5 and under!)
It seems I never write in this journal except on trips. When I'm home I am busier than I have ever been in my life. It's hard to even describe what keeps me so busy, but it has to do with 4 kids ages 5 and under. "Wipe my bottom Mom, " "Get me some juice," "Push down my peepee, Mom," "Hand me my puzzle," "Hey, who put the gerbils in Cammy's drawer?" "Mikie sure has a lot of sand in his hair," "Look at those millions of potato bugs that Cammy has in that open container in the kitchen," "Cammy and Katie have been in my drawers again!" "It's your turn to drive my ballet carpool today," "Paige is out at Canyon Racket Club and needs a ride home," "Stephen has filled his drawers and I dubs not to clean him up," "You know the bubbles you just bought for Cammy, Katie and Mike?  Well they are washing the front porch with them!" "Cammy just broke the lamp downstairs!" . . . "Well she made me do it!"  


Amazingly my Mom survived all this craziness that this life often brings. . . she did it!  And she did it so well in my opinion!  I often sit and think about how lucky she is that she can now rest from her earthly craziness and has moved on to heavenly craziness.  I'm sure she's as busy as can be up there!  

How I would love to be able to take a small peek at what she is up to! 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Squeeze your loved ones extra tight today!

November 20, 2016
 
Beautiful Costa Rica . . a little glimpse of heaven!

It's been exactly ten months already since Mom passed!  I keep thinking about what was happening with her at about this very time last year. It was not a good time. I had a pit in my stomach every day that she was at her care facility. It wasn't that the center was inept or bad in any way. It was clean, the people were nice, the care was good as far as I could tell etc. It was just the thought of her sitting in her room alone with no family around that made me so sad and feeling uncomfortable all the time. It's hard to think about and I tear up just writing about it. 

 
4 generations . . . November 18, 2015
Ironically, here is a video that I just found yesterday on my I-phone that was created automatically on my phone . . . "On this Day one year ago . . . "


A few weeks ago I was driving out in the west part of Salt Lake City, headed to a basketball game of one of my boys, and going in the direction of that memory care facility, and the fresh memories came flooding back. The tears came fast and took me a little off guard. Sometimes I am surprised at how easily the tears still flow at times.  

It's good to be on this side of things for sure . . . where she is happy and safe and with many of her loved ones on the other side! But, oh how I miss her! I have moments that come mostly out of the blue where I miss her so darn much, that I just can hardly stand it.  Tears flow fast and hard and drop off my face for just a few minutes at a time . . . and then life goes on as normal. Perhaps this will happen for the rest of my earthly life.

Certain things remind me of Mom on a regular basis, and I am happy about that. I think of her as I look up to the mountains that we have climbed many times together. I will hold those memories close forever. And certain music I listen to reminds me of her . . . especially Sleeping At Last music from her viewing video. (Click the link for a little sampling.) She loved music with a beat or beautiful, classical music and could often be found dancing around. Last Sunday as my extended family gathered at my Dad's house, I put my foot up on the wall in the front courtyard of their house, and put my hand straight up in the air, and sung out in glee.  "Who am I?" I asked. Everyone knew that was what Mom used to do along with her heal clicks and cart wheels.   

We say "Hi Mimsie" to her as we drive past the cemetery where she is buried . . every time we go to my Dad's. I'm yet to go to the cemetery and walk up to her grave site without getting emotional.  Maybe one day.  

Dad and I going on the first of seven zip lines
A month ago my family and a group of my extended family traveled to Costa Rica for a week long vacation.  Her absence was definitely noticed.  I'm yet to have an experience where I feel my Mom's presence strong and close, but I may have had a little taste.  We were zip lining at a place called Ocean Ranch and were on our last of 7 rides down the beautiful mountain.  We had a small climb up a hill to get to the top of the zip line . . and there was the most beautiful butterfly fluttering around right in front of me. My sister in law Jennie noticed it too. To me that was a sign that she was there! Ever since I read the book "Still Alice" about the butterflies, they have been special to me. Just because their lives have been cut a little short, they still lived a beautiful life . . . or something like that. :) I continue to wear my butterfly ring on my right hand and will always think of her when I see butterflies! 
Quote from Still Alice

Mom would have loved that trip, and that whole experience of being with many of our family members!  

Oh, how I miss her, and always will!  Thank goodness for the knowledge and belief that I will get to see her again one day.  Can. not. wait! Keep exploring those heavenly hills Mom.  Can't wait for some heavenly hikes with you! 

PS. This morning we just got word that a group of Britton's (my 16 year old son) friends were in a car crash late last night and two of them passed away.  Britt is shaken up pretty bad as he just hung out with Ethan Friday at lunch and then that night at the school play, and he has English with all the girls involved.  I am extra emotional just thinking of them and their families today and how their lives are changed forever.  Just another reminder of just how fragile this life is.  Hang on extra tight to your loved ones today! Prayers and love go out to all the families involved! 
 
Britton in Costa Rica, 2016
 

Hey Mom, will you find Lexie and Ethan and give them a big hug from all their friends and their families?  Tell them that they will be missed and never forgotten!  xox 

Britt posted a photo of Ethan on Instagram where his head is thrown back and Ethan is laughing. Britt says "this is how I will always remember Ethan, always laughing and making everyone else's day. Friendships last forever. Love you Ebot. D&C 121:9" (See photo below.) Click here to watch the Channel 2 News Story . .

PSS.  My thoughts and prayers are also with the Jon Schmidt family as they will lay their beautiful daughter Annie to rest tomorrow.  xox

Britton's Insta photo!

Vigil for Lexie and Ethan at Draper Park


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Mom's 73rd birthday today!

September 10, 2016

Today would have been Mom's 73rd birthday!  Anticipating her birthday has made me think a lot about her lately . . . even more than usual!  I find myself going back to old blog entries that I've written from the past, and reading and reliving some of the days we had with her and her disease. I'm surprised how easily the tears still flow as I read and remember. 
 
Chi Omega pledge day, 1987 (Mom was a ChiO too!)

I'm so happy to be on this side of it now and not where we were a year ago. One year ago my Dad was talking about putting my Mom into a Memory Care place and that put a huge pit in my stomach. Her first day at the facility was September 28th . . I will not forget! I'm so happy to know she is now in a good, safe, and happy place! I miss her terribly and hope that there are some big celebrations going on in heaven today! 

Yes, it gets a bit easier with the passing of time, but I think my teary moments will come sporadically for the rest of my days here on earth without her. It's just not the same and sometimes I wonder how I'm doing it without her. 

I really can't speak for my siblings and for my Dad but I'm pretty sure they feel the same way and have their moments as well. We probably all will for the rest of our days.  

In honor of my Mom, our family, the ones that live nearby, are gathering for dinner tomorrow at my Dad's and then visiting her graveside. 8 months out and I still feel teary thinking about it.  

In going through old journal entries of my Moms, I came across one that she wrote on her birthday in 1978 . . . and a few journal entries after that . .

September 10, 1978  Sunday

I'm 35!!! -- and never felt better. Bore my testimony at church, was set apart as mutual president afterward. Mike gave me a new freezer, went to Margaret's for a nice dinner and ice cream and cake. 

September 16, 1978

Canned peaches all morning with Grandma Cora and Grandma Margaret. Went down to Foothill Village long enough to see Paige (sister) come in from her 6 mile jogging race. Looked pooped but finished. 

Saturday night was a special fireside at the Tabernacle with Spencer W. Kimball, the main speaker, along with Barbara Smith (General RS Pres) Elaine Cannon (Mutual Pres) and Ruth Funk (past Mutual President). It was the "first of its kind" fireside for all women of the church. 

Paige, Michelle Mattsson (sister's friend), Anne Stewart (Mom's friend) and I all went together. We sat right in the middle of the main floor. Thanks to Marilyn Ebert who saved us a seat. Afterward we bought peach pie and clam chowder and came back to our house to eat. 

September 18, 1978

It snowed last night!  Michael (brother) has a bad cold. Cammy and Katie (sisters) stayed the night with Grandma Margaret and Cora. I am working hard on a Mutual New Beginnings program, along with Anne Stewart. 

Mike and I have never been closer or had a better relationship!

Mardi broke a bone in her hand last week. (It got her out of practicing the piano for a whole week.)


One last journal entry I want to include . . skipping ahead a few years . . . I turned right to this today and LOVE IT!

April 4, 1981

I don't express often enough how grateful I am for all of my blessings -- particularly my children and husband and the church. If I could ever have a wish, it would be to have all of us live so that we could be together always. 

I also pray that my children might have testimonies and marry in the temple. But more than marrying in the temple, that they might feel the satisfaction of an eternal and happy family themselves. I also pray for motivation for my children - motivation to develop talents, do well in school, be honest and hard working -- and also be sensitive and kind and of service to others. 

In the case that my children and grand kids might read this someday when I am dead, I hope you will be turned outward and not inward -- not always worrying about yourself, but others. This is hard to do unless you're self esteem is high and you feel good about yourself . . then thoughts are more easily turned to others. Do for others constantly. 

It's 12:20am and I'm tired - the message is not eloquent, but sincere. 

I love you kids and your father! The church is true! Be strong in keeping Heavenly Father's commandments!  

What a treasure to have, Mom!  Miss you and love you beyond anything I could ever say!  Happiest Birthday! xoxox

Sunday, July 17, 2016

6 months out . . . if only we were allowed a brief visit!

July 16, 2016

This may sound a bit strange . . but I find myself talking to my Mom in my mind on occasion . . . It's usually when I'm alone by myself going about my day, or out taking a walk by myself. I like to believe she can hear and understand me. "How's it goin' Mom? What are you doing up there? What's it like? Is it true that the colors are amazing? Are you happy? Who are you spending your time with? Are you able to hike and bike like you love? I like to think, and often say, that you are up there hiking the heavenly hills and riding the heavenly trails! Please say hi to Grandma and Grandpa Tanner for me, and Grams and Gramps Preece, Gram Storrs, Grandma Cora, Uncle Rick, Aunt Betty, Uncle Bill . . . and everybody . . I sure miss you!" 


Great Aunt Betty and Mom's sister and sis-in-laws!
There's no doubt in my mind Mom is 
having a great old time up there, or just wherever heaven might be. Lucky girl!  I just keep having the thought of how lucky my Mom is that she made it!  She made it through this challenging earth life, and she seemingly did it so well and so gracefully! We're all left to wonder how our loved ones will eventually die, and how we, ourselves will eventually leave this life. I no longer have to worry about the idea of how my Mom will pass on. It was definitely a worry of mine. My desire was that she would die peacefully, gracefully, quickly and cleanly, and that's exactly how it happened. My prayers were answered and I am grateful for that!

Mom's family in the 60's?!
I was talking to my Dad on the phone the other day and he said, "Wouldn't it be so great to be able to spend a few hours with Mom, with her healthy mind? I wouldn't want the time to end though . . and wouldn't want her to leave. I would want to go with her!" Imagining such an occasion brought the tears back. I couldn't speak for a few seconds. Tears are definitely fewer and farther between these days, and I am surprised at the randomness of when they do come and when I miss her the very most. I still have my random moments of longing for her, as some of my siblings have told me they have felt the same! My Dad definitely continues to get teary easily and quite frequently, which is unusual for him. I've never known him to be that way until these last six months! 

Aunts and uncles and cousins on Mom's (Tanner) side!
Life goes on without my Mom and it's tough sometimes. We go to the airport to welcome her brother and wife, Rick and Jan, home from a mission . . . we meet my Mom's siblings for dinner up in Brigham City a few weeks ago . . and next week for the 24th of July weekend, the whole extended Tanner family, Mom's family, will all meet up at the Tanner family cabin and celebrate my grandparents, Dick and Dale Tanner's, 100th birthdays! Grandpa Tanner turned 100 on July 10th!  

Between my Mom and her 4 other siblings, there are 30 of us cousins on my Mom's side and many of them will be there next week! I love them all! They are all fabulous people and I love to be with them, but there will always be that big missing piece whenever I am with them! It will forever make me sad, but I have found that I can be strong and do hard things. Mom would want us to go on and be happy!  


Gram and Gramps building the Tanner family cabin 60ish years ago! 
As I continue to go through my Mom's journals, here are a few random entries that I wanted to share . . . and as you will see, her family and extended family has always played a very important part in her life . . . and in ours too!

May 9, 1978

     Last night I had my Mom and Rob (her youngest brother) to dinner and for family home evening.

     Today the kids are back at their old tricks -- all of the clothes have been taken out of the drawers and they are trying 10 different outfits on. At nursery school they made crepe paper hats . . when they got home, they plopped the crepe paper in Chuck (the dog's) water dish and turned it orange . . got orange water all over the utility room. Michael had diarrhea . . dripped out of his diaper and all over me, the rug, in my purse, down his leg etc. etc. . . the wonders of motherhood! 

May 19, 1978

     Cammy and Katie (3 year old sisters) stayed all night at Grandma Margaret's and collapsed a grate on her window well . . they both fell in and got pretty scraped up. I was home planting petunias.
Mom with sis-in-laws, Jan and Sandy Tanner!

June 9, 1978

     I'm in the Jacobsen's (dinner group friends) car on the way to Vernal to stay overnight and then go down the Colorado River in rubber rafts. Paige and Mardi are with me, but the rest of the troops are home with Grandma Cora and Grandma Margaret. Mike is coming up later tonight . . he has a hard time taking any time off . . hasn't taken one day off this year.
     Mike and I went to the temple last night and were the witness couple. I also took the kids swimming at the Teerlink's house yesterday.
     Mardi just finished 3rd grade and Paige 7th. Mardi had a ballet program at Indian Hills and her school dance festival. Mardi is taking tap dance from Dixie Schoenhals and so am I  . . tapping off pounds!
     I was just in charge of the evening of sharing program in mutual. The theme was gifts of the spirit and I wrote a poem to each of my mutual girls.
     I'm also on the luncheon committee for the closing social in Relief Society.
     Jogging or running is certainly a popular way to stay in shape . . . I wish I could make my body think it is fun!

Mom and sister Deanne!
July 2, 1978 . . Sunday

     We got back a week ago from Laguna Beach. We took everyone but Michael who stayed with Grandma Margaret.  We took Grandma Cora with us and dropped her off at her friend's house in Hemet, California. We spent a day at Sea World in San Diego and a day at Disneyland. We also had Janice and her family (Dad's sister) down to the beach for a day. It was a good change but was not very restful with 2 small children who like to pinch each other, pull hair and scratch!
     The day before we left, the bishop pulled Mike aside and asked his permission to call me as Mutual President . . It ruined my trip. I just can't imagine how I'm going to do that with all the over night retreats, etc. and still raise these little children. I feel many days like I can barely get the wash done. 
     This is a very hard period in my life as I have so much responsibility and relatively no free time. Sometimes I yearn for just one day of peace and quiet. Mike is also gone so much!
     Today we went to Mike and Sandy's ward to see the blessing of Richard Crandall Tanner. He was blessed with a love for and a desire to serve his fellowman, no matter what their station in life. We then went to Sandy's for dinner - and ate in their back yard. 
 
Gram and Grandpa Tanner in the 50's or 60's!

July 16,1978 (38 years ago today!)

     Returned today from 3 days in Bear Lake. It was the gathering for the William Tanner and Richard Tanner reunion. (My Mom's Dad and his brother) All of Uncle Bill's 13 children attended but Bryan and Mark . . also 19 grandchildren. All of our family was present . . 5 children and 16 grandchildren. We were all very cozy in close quarters with lots of bodies but had a marvelous time water skiing, playing tennis, eating etc. We had a several spiritual meetings with Uncle Bill's family -- a special Sunday school class tonight by John Tanner on raising children in today's world so that they hold fast to the gospel principles. Also had a meeting to discuss daddy . . . Richard Tanner . . and talked of his life and personality for the benefit of those who didn't know him well. 
     Uncle Bill and his family of 13 children have always been very inspirational and a great example to me. Uncle Bill also gave me a blessing that I might have more than just two kids a few years ago.
     Paige (older sis) spent last week at Brighton Camp and loved the experience. I attended the Laurel and Mia Maid Camp up on the stake's property above Oakley. We slept in tents and cooked our meals in tin cans. I had a "better than expected"  time but about froze to death during the night and returned with a bad cold . . . sniff, snort, drip!
     On July 13th I forgot to mention that I went to dinner with my old friends that I went to church with from 7 years old to 18 years old. Many of these girls I hadn't seen in ten years . . Marie Kibbe Hansen, Judy Landward Hollingshead, Carmen Pingree, Kathleen Hale Webb, Camille Lamoureax, Edith Lund, Christina Nelson.

Friday, April 22, 2016

It's been 3 months!


April 18, 2016
One of our favorites of Mom!

It's been three months today since Mom passed away. I still have my moments, usually totally out of the blue, where I get emotional about the thought of not being able to see her again while I live here on earth. I honestly am not even sure what triggers my emotion. It just comes on suddenly. I think I have mentioned this previously in another blog post, but, on one hand, I am so happy that my Mom has been released of her diseased mind, and is now free to hike and bike the heavenly hills to her hearts content, and to think straight again. But then on the other hand, I feel a little ripped off when I see other women around her same age who probably have many years ahead of them . . and wish that I could spend more time with her here. I think maybe it hasn't quite hit me completely that she is gone. I get emotional when I think about the fact that I can't just call her on the phone anymore like I used to always be able to do. I keep finding myself with the thought of wanting to call her and talk to her and tell her things . . . and even with her diseased mind. I would take her any way I could get her!

Before she went into the care facility at the end of last September, I would often call just to see how she was and to see what her and my Dad were up to. Even when I was just calling to ask my Dad a question or to talk to my Dad, I usually made it a point to talk to her as well. I miss those calls. I miss her. I miss her thoughtfulness, her listening ear, our walks, our hikes, her sense of humor, her laugh, and just about everything. But, I know I will see her again and that's what keeps me going. Luckily my emotional moments are pretty spread apart and infrequent these days, and that is good. I am able to keep my emotions in check for the most part.

A recent painting done of my brother Steve with Mom!
I've still only visited Mom's grave site a couple of times. We are still waiting for the headstone to be completed and set in place. Hopefully by Memorial Day! Memorial Day will for sure take on new meaning this year! And Mother's Day too! I hope I can visit the cemetery soon without feeling quite so emotional!  I would imagine it just takes a little time. I find myself getting a little teary eyed when I see reminders of Mother's Day coming up. I think this year’s Mother's Day will be hard . . . no doubt about it! Our first Mother's Day without our Mother . . . yes, that will be different and difficult!

My hope is to make a tradition every year of gathering at her grave site, and one day my Dad's grave site too, and eating a picnic lunch with whatever family members can make it, and reminiscing about them and their lives. I noticed last year on Memorial Day, when my Mom and I were walking around to the different headstones up at the Salt Lake City Cemetery, and talking about different family members who had passed on . . . people were having happy picnics at the grave sites of their family members. I loved the idea and hope to make it happen!
Salt Lake Cemetery last Memorial Day, 2015

People continue to ask me about how my Dad is doing. I've seen and been with him on a handful of occasions since Mom died. He seems mostly good and is keeping pretty busy updating his house and yard, playing tennis, working on correlation assignments, getting caught up on tv series, going out with friends etc. He has made comments to me, hopefully in mostly a kidding manner, that he is "living the lonely, widow life!" but then he laughs about it. Sadly, I think he really sorta feels that way.  Although he’s mostly busy and seems to be doing just fine, I'm sure he's had many moments alone to ponder over his situation and is still mourning his loss . . . and I’m sure he will be for a long while! But he’ll be ok. He's a strong guy.

As I mentioned in the last blog entry, I want to keep up this blog, even now that my Mom is passed, just to house her many past journal entries.  My hope is that future generations will be able to read this one day and will feel like they know her and all her goodness. Reading her journals has been so interesting and eye opening to me, especially now that I am a mother, and even grandmother myself, and can relate so much to many of her thoughts and feelings. 

Mom, brother Mike and Dad (notice casserole in hand!)
I've been reading from her first journal that began in 1978, when she was in her mid 30's and I was around 9 and 10 years old. There are some topics that my Mom talks about frequently . . . some common themes that come up over and over throughout all her journals . . . always going out on the town with various sets of friends with and without my Dad, tennis matches with my Dad, other couples, her tennis group, going on medical trips and fun trips as a family, as a couple, with friends and family, being on one committee or another, being in charge of some church or neighborhood party event, taking meals to people, exercising and her love of the outdoors and being fit, having people over for dinner constantly etc.  I know for sure that my Mom lived a full, busy, fun, sometimes very challenging and service oriented life and I hope to be able to be even half the woman she was and is! 

Here are some random journal excerpts I want to remember: (good times and hard times!) FYI: My siblings are Paige, Cammy, Katie, Michael and Steve . . . and my Dad is Mike . . so you will know who my Mom is talking about in all her journal entries! :)

September 18, 1978
It snowed last night! Michael has a bad cold, Cammy and Katie stayed the night with Great Grandma Cora, I am working hard on the Mutual New Beginnings Program - along with Anne Stewart. Mike and I have never been closer or had a better relationship! Mardi broke a bone in her hand last week (it got her out of practicing the piano for a whole week!)

Jane Pugh and Mom tap dancing!
October 9, 1978
I never watch tv . . . and spend my extra time doing more worthwhile thing such as reading books, tennis, tap dancing and mutual.

November 14, 2016
All have colds - Katie can't hear well - may have to have her tonsils out. She keeps saying "Say it louder Mom."

Now that Michael is more mobile and getting into lots of mischief - and the girls can't play due to the snow, I feel like I've really got my hands full. Some days everyone is so cross. I feel that Heavenly Father must have sent me all the grouchy children. Some days they scream and cry to the point that I scream and cry too.  It's a good thing they have their cute moments. I've been putting an undershirt on Cammy and Katie and they call it their bra. Cammy is also to the stage where she is starting to draw. She must use 50 sheets of paper per day drawing a little girl that look like this: (see the photo of that journal page)

Mike and Mom in the early 80's
Michael loves to go outside and grabs his coat and runs for the door whenever anyone looks like they're ready to leave. Paige does very well at sports - tennis, basketball, soccer etc. Mardi is easy going, and although balks occasionally, generally does what she is asked to do. Mardi has quite a charming sense of humor. 

Mutual continues to keep me busy. We are gathering canned food for a food bank for our mutual service project tomorrow night.

I'm also in the process of decorating many rooms in our home . . . choosing wall paper, paint, furniture etc.

Last week I had a very strange thing happen to my left hand. I developed acute arthritis in it that lasted 4 days. It was red, swollen and very painful. (It was difficult to change the baby's pants with one hand.) Mike felt it was a side-effect from a viral illness I had had. I hope so . . . would hate to have arthritis forever.

Mom, Me and Paige in about 1970
December 6, 1978
Mike and I went to San Francisco from Dec. 1st to Dec. 4th. We flew down and had beautiful weather and a marvelous time. Liz and Jack Hammond were on the same plane so we rented a car and toured around San Fran on Friday - - Golden Gate Bridge, Muir Woods, My Tan, Sausalito etc.

We stayed in the Fairmont Hotel. While Mike went to Cardiology meetings, I shopped and shopped and shopped - Macy's, Cost Plus, Mademoiselle, rode cable car, went to breakfast at Sears and had a marvelous time.

On Sunday we rented a car and visited our old Greenbrae Ward - saw our old friends - Darrell Smiths, Rex Gardners, Trent Keys, Coombs, Willmores, Roberta Cribbs, Packs etc.
That night we drove to Mikes' Uncle Howard Paxman's to see his home and then took him to dinner on the 46th floor of the Hilton Hotel.

On Monday I finished my shopping while Mike finished his meetings. We then went to Pier 39 on a Cable Car where we ate lunch and super choc chip cookies. Then flew home at 4:15pm.

Our kids were well taken care of by Grandma Cora and Grandma Margaret. Paige gave a talk in church while we were gone.

Glam shot of Mom!
Today I am getting ready for mutual and trying to get ready for our neighborhood party this Friday night. The main course is at our house . . . wish I had more Christmas decorations!

Have also cleaned up dog diarrhea off the rug, and flour from all over the kitchen, as Katie was making "pie".

Mike is very busy at work -- usually leaves by 5am and comes home by 7pm.