I’ve been thinking about this milestone for awhile now. I get a lump in my throat, and I keep pushing it aside. I feel like if I write anything down, it’ll be more permanent – like it really DID happen.
It did, and it is never easy, but Michael’s dad passed away on October 3 at age 58 due to complications with ALS.
Although it has been painful to watch his health plummet in the last two years and we wished he would find relief, it doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye.
I love him so much, and he is a big reason why Michael is the way that he is. And for that reason alone, I will love and respect that man forever.
When the Prophet Joseph Smith was in Liberty Jail the rest of the Saints were suffering horrendously. His family was aching for his return, and the stress during that time must have been overwhelming.
He didn’t have a phone. He didn’t have any comforts of normal life.
I get antsy when I’m alone in the carpool line for 5-10 minutes to think to myself. I can’t imagine having months and months of time to let your mind just wander. He pleaded with the Lord and wondered how long he would need to endure.
Then the Lord responded:
It is so hard to know that we won’t see Don again in this life. He had more than 500 people attend his visitation and more than 900 people attend his funeral. It was a humbling experience to see this faithful man honored and celebrated by so many who loved him.
When we found out about the news, we were able to find comfort in attending the temple. We were able to pray and feel comforted, and I will be so grateful for that.
When trials come, we can’t really ask WHY, or we may want to ask FOR HOW LONG as Joseph wanted to… but the best answer is to ask WHAT CAN I LEARN FROM THIS?
I’ve been thinking about that a lot, and here’s what I’ve learned:
- Don’t be so busy living that you forget to live a life
- Never delay a prompting. I felt like I needed to stop by on Monday afternoon… for no particular reason. Little did I know it would be the last time I got to see Don wave goodbye, with the little strength he had.
- I learned that families are strong. We are resilient. We are there for each other, when times are HARD.
- I learned that planning a funeral can be stressful. So many decisions, so many emotions. We apologized, we laughed, we cried and we pulled through.
- I want to be a better listener because of Don. It was difficult to have a one-sided conversation with Don as his voice grew weak. I wondered what life would be like if I couldn’t say much. I wonder how much more perceptive I would be.
- I figured out how kind and generous friends are. The Saints can move quickly, and they surround you with love from every angle. The outpouring of kind words, memories, meals and everything in between was so touching to our family.
- I learned that no distance is too far to be there for the ones who need you. Hilde’s mother and two brothers came from Norway and China just to be there for a couple days. When I saw them hug, I felt so lucky to be part of a family that would make those types of sacrifices to be with the ones you love. Although there were hundreds of people there, I’m sure Hilde would have felt empty if her mother was not there. I also felt grateful that my own parents were there.
- I saw that funerals can be funny, empowering and exhausting. I laughed, cried and went go-go-go as long as we could before we crashed.
- I realized again (as I do so often) just how special my husband is. When your other half is hurting so terribly, it is almost harder to see, than if you’re going through it yourself. It’s hard to feel helpless, to have no solutions and to not even know what to say at times. I realized I am blessed to be married to a man who is not bitter, but good.
- I learned that children know. They know. They know the plan. It’s so simple to them. They continue to pray for Daddy Taylor. They still write his name on love notes. They miss him terribly, as do I. Grief comes in waves. I wish they could grow up with Daddy Taylor cheering them on. He loved women, daughters and his grandkids. Now I can only hope he will be there to watch over them from above- if he’s not too busy!
- I learned that I want to write things down. I’ve always loved to journal, but moments like these matter. I need to write down the stories that we heard from the nurses as they went through the line to pay their condolences. I need to remember stories about Dr. Taylor praying for a woman’s child, or reaching out in a small way that impacted their life so deeply. I want to remember the countless people in scrubs that came from the hospital, just as Don would so often do.
- I learned that life can really suck all at the same time. I bumped into a parked car during school pickup, Michael got pulled over (warning), Hilde’s car battery died, her house flooded, our lawn mower broke, got caught in a thunderstorm during family pictures and kids cry, get the flu and all sorts of business. BUT the best part is, these are easily forgotten if we don’t dwell on them. But yeah, sometimes life is just bad. and that’s ok.
- I learned most of all that my Savior lives. He’s there with his infinite grace and wisdom to save us, cleanse us and empower us to be better. I love Him, and because He lives I will get to see Don again someday.
I’m humbled by the things I’ve learned, and I know I have a ways to go.
I was honored to help write Don’s obituary, found here: http://obituaries.tylerpaper.com/obituaries/tylerpaper/obituary.aspx?pid=181752360