SECOND WARNING: This might go on for a while so reader ... beware!
Brief background: on January 21st, Taylor's mom, Susan Elaine Keele, passed away unexpectedly from a blood clot. There was no warning and we are still in a state of shock about it. I would like to write more later about the story, but for now I want to focus what's going on right now.
I snapped this shot of her at Antelope Island last fall when she wasn't looking. I just love this picture of her!
I've been dealing with things and thought I was okay. We got through the horrible night when we heard of her death and the day after when we made the trip down to Castledale and that was really tough. Then all the prep for the funeral, that was hard. We got through the funeral (which was beautiful) and cemetery and that was really hard. The day after the funeral was really, really hard, watching Kent break down. I've supported Taylor and I've watched and talked with the kids as they have digested this death in their own way and of course I've cried ... lots! Nut then life went on, but today I realize ... I'm sad.
Today I went to the mall to pick up something for my mom. I walked past a jewelry store and the memory flooded back to last year when Aubrey and I walked past that very store and ran into Kent and Susan. Susan was showing off a new emerald ring that Kent had bought her (I think it was for their anniversary). We chatted and went our separate ways. As that memory rushed in I could hardly hold back the tears before I made it to the van and just cried. I don't know what it was, whether it was realizing that I would never just "run" into her again or the fact that Kent won't have her for the next anniversary. There's the fact that Aubrey's birthday is this week and she won't get a visit from her. That makes me feel sad.
Once I composed myself, I made the drive home thinking I was good. I was looking forward to giving my mom a big hug as I knew she was waiting home for me. That's when the frailty of life really crept into my mind. You know how when you're a kid and death is something that just doesn't happen to people you know? And when it does happen, it's a crazy bizarre thing? Well, somehow now at the ripe age of 31, I realize this is part of life (I know, duh, right?). The fact of the matter is we are born and then we die. I've been looking at the people in my life who I am the closest to, Taylor, the kids, my mom and sisters, Taylor's family, our friends ... and realize I am going to have to deal with death. And that makes me really sad.
I started thinking about my mom, who has had some health scares this week. I can't imagine having her die. The thought is devastating to me. I thought of all the memories I would have that would remind me of her love for us. When I'm sick, I call my mom. When I'm sad, I call my mom. When I'm happy, I call my mom. You get it. I think in the back of my head I was prepared for that "someday" to come when I would be ready for death, but I don't think I ever will be ready. And that makes me sad.
I haven't been able to sleep at night lately. During the day I just want to sleep. Nap. Lay down. I keep my mind busy with other things, make myself do things: I made this really cool meal planner for the fridge, you should see it!, work on school (did I tell you that my professor LOVED my bio/comp paper and used it as a model for the class?), been hanging out with friends ... but when that's all over I just want to crawl into bed and snuggle up. I keep waiting for that yucky feeling to get better. But I'm still sad.
Braden talks about death several times a day. It is very present for him. He keeps reminding me (apparently he thinks I'm going senile!), "Mom, remember Grandma Susan died?" He has had a couple of teary moments, one when he walked in the room and I had my eyes closed and he yells, "Mom! Ohhhh, I thought you were dead!" with tears in his eyes, and another when he came running from my bedroom and said, "Mom, I don't you want you to EVER die!" and gave me the biggest hug ever. He was worried when I touched his hands and commented that they were cold, saying, "Does that mean I'm dying?" (To him, cold hands equates you are dead.) I promised him that I won't die for a looooooong time and not to worry. In the back of my head, I know I can't keep that promise. I have hope, but there's no guarantee. I picture what it would be like if Taylor died, and I can't even go there except to know it would be horrible. Am I a bad mommy to promise him I won't die for a long time? I wish I had an absolute for him, it makes me sad.
Aubrey is a trooper. The first week, especially those first few days were pretty rough. We did a lot of crying and she talked through a lot of hard to understand feelings. She was brave and shared her favorite memory with Grandma at the funeral. She realizes that Grandma won't be able to go to her next orchestra concert. She won't be getting to add any letters from Russia in her notebook (Kent and Susan were preparing to serve a mission for our church in Russia and Susan made notebooks for each of the grandchildren to keep their letters from Russia). She has told me that it now feels normal for Grandma to not be here and that makes her sad and I totally agree, it's very sad.
Taylor seems to be okay, but I worry about him. He is really good at bottling up things and making it seem like he's fine. He lost it once pretty big a week or two after the funeral, but aside from some small moments, doesn't show a whole lot. I know it is not that he trusts me, it is just not something he has ever done ... let it all out. I hope I can be the safe place for him to come when it does come out. I know his heart is broken and that makes me sad.
I guess what I realized in getting this all out is ... that I am sad. I think I tried to just pick back up with life, thinking (hoping) that it would just get back to normal. Tonight I realize that I need to let myself feel this. It's okay to mourn. Not Just Susan's death but the reality that is ahead. Life is hard sometimes and sad.
I am so grateful for the knowledge I have of the plan of salvation! The knowledge that one day I will get to see Susan, and all my friends and family. I may be separated from them for a time, but that grief will be but a wink of an eye in the scheme of things. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I can't imagine going through this without the comfort our Heavenly Father gives us. I know that I can't and will probably not on this earth be able to understand why we have to go through heartache and trial, but I know that it will be worth it. There are good things that we come out of trials with, even if just the fact that we got through it intact. As painful as this is, I am not alone and I do not have to bear the burden alone. But for tonight, I am sad.