Category Archives: Parenting

My One Real Regret

If I have one regret so far in life, it’s that my journal keeping skills have been rather haphazard.

Oh, I have some in books, some on the computer, some blog post, some facebook statuses (actually, i should find a way to gather all those up – I think that would be my most comprehensive journaling to date – so sad), but nothing like I wish I had now.

I suppose, with all the things I had to do in life, writing in my journal seemed less important. Now, praying, and scripture reading, and child rearing received top billing, and rightly so. But journaling was cast by the way-side. If I was going to take the time to write, then it was going to be on my books, etc. There were so many other things to do that were so much more important than keeping a consistent journal.

I was wrong.

So very, very, wrong.

I would give anything now to have a record of Lizy’s life and my memories of her. The few I have, I cling to, afraid the memories will slip gradually from my fingers leaving me with nothing more than a gaping hole in my heart. I devour every word I have written about her, conjuring up the images of her through the years. And how I wish I had written more. SO much, much more.

Since I wasn’t big on journaling, I didn’t push it either. Oh, I gave them journals, but I only encouraged them a little, and now, I wish I had made it a bigger deal. The first thing I did was scour her room looking for anything in her own hand expressing her thoughts and feelings so I could feel close to her. I found some, but I wished for more.

It does little to lament the past. I can’t change it. I can’t make words magically appear on paper from years past, but I can learn from it and change the future.

I am going to be a devoted journal keeper. I won’t let the days slip past without writing about the wonders of the days, my feelings, the amazingness of my children.

My father has brain cancer. I think I mentioned that before. They suspect he has less than a month left and the one thing I am so grateful for is that I have a record of his life, his experiences, his adventures. Robert won’t ever meet his grandpa in person (just over skype) but he can still know him because he has faithfully kept a journal.

I want my kids, grandkids, great-grandkids to know me. I hope I never have another experience like Lizy, but I don’t want to take a chance. I want a record of their amazing lives and experiences – both from me and from them. I yearn and crave Lizy’s words and memories. I want to wrap myself in them. I miss her so very much. I am grateful I have what I have, but so disapointed I didn’t write down more.

I know I can write now, and I will, but it’s not quite the same – remembering rather than being in the moment, but it will still be something.

President Spencer W. Kimball said, “I promise you that if you will keep your journals and records, they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to your families, to your children, your grandchildren, and others, on through the generations. Each of us is important to those who are near and dear to us and as our posterity read of our life’s experiences, they, too, will come to know and love us. And in that glorious day when our families are together in the eternities, we will already be acquainted.”

Please, if you are inclined, learn from my mistakes. Tragedy can come when least expected. I would hope that it evades you completely, but don’t take the chance. Keep a journal. Write down everything you can about you, about your children, you family, your experiences, your adventures. I promise it will be a comfort to you if tragedy strikes and it will touch the lives of those who will read it in the future.

14 Comments

Filed under Child loss, Opinion, Parenting, Philosophy, Religion

Something I am Learning

“It is not enough simply to survive tragedy, trials are in vain if we gain no meaning from them, no healing, and no increase in sensitivity to the daily gifts of God’s grace.” – Elaine Shaw Sorensen

Chrysalis
Knowing without seeing,
Feeling without saying,
He perceives my meditations
And fathoms the fire of my soul.
Acquiescence of my foibles
He makes no essay to alter my character
Resulting in mere mutations of a former being.
Abiding in his passion
I metamorphose,
A sweeping transformation
To a superior self never realized.

5 Comments

Filed under Child loss, Every Day Life, Parenting, Philosophy

I said yes, instead of no, and that has made all the difference

So many times as parents we tell our children no when they want to do things with us.

We’re too tired.

We’re too busy.

We don’t feel like it.

We’d rather get the cleaning done, or maybe we just slipped into that delicious book we started a week ago and have been waiting to find out what happens next.

I know I’ve been guilty of it far too often, but there was one week where I didn’t say no. It was Spring Break.

On Sunday the kids wanted to lay outside while Dad grilled dinner. I said yes and read “Harry Potter” to them on the grass.

On Monday the kids wanted to use our newly created fire pit. It wasn’t really finished, but I asked Dad and he said Yes (even though he wanted to finish it first) and we had our first hotdog roast in the backyard and read scriptures and ghost stories around the fire. It is an AWESOME memory.

On Tuesday I had planned to take the kids hiking, but the morning was slow and things weren’t going the best and I almost changed me mind. It took them hiking, even though I wanted to just stay home and we had an amazing time. I was blessed with a special experience and some wonderful fun memories.

On Wednesday Lizy asked if I could take her shopping. She’d earned some money babysitting and needed some new shoes. I wasn’t really in the mood to go. The house was a wreck after our hike the day before, and there was SO much that needed to be done. But, despite all that, I said yes. We had the BEST time. We laughed and joked and she found some adorable pink flip flops with a big pink flower on each one and a pair of new tennis shoes. She even had enough to get the CD she wanted – Ocean Eyes by Owl City and we had fun listening to the fireflies song.

That night when Em went to a friend’s house, she and Dot wanted to sleep in the basement. I said yes, and I didn’t even complain when they stayed up to 12:20 – I’m so glad I didn’t send them to bed early. I’m so glad they had that time together.

On Thursday morning the kids cut pictures out of old magazines and then the accident happened.

I am so grateful I said yes.

I am so grateful I said yes, when I wanted to say no.

I am so grateful that instead of a week of regrets, I have a week of wonderful memories.

I am SO grateful that I had that last mother/daughter date with my little Lizy.

Life is so precious. Hobbies and cleaning can wait to a degree. I know we need to say no once in a while, but we need to say yes more often. We never know when our yes, might be the last yes we can say.

Enjoy your children. Put down the broom, the computer, the washcloth, the book, the amazing project your doing, and go play with them now. They’ll never forget the time you spend with them, and beleive me…..

neither will you.

20 Comments

Filed under Child loss, Children, Family, Lizy, Parenting, Philosophy

Our First Annual Lizy Day

I remember holding you when you were first born. SO delicate, so tiny. I had never held a baby so new from God before. My heart was filled with awe and amazement that you were mine. I held you so close that first night and you snuggled in my arms. Falling asleep to the beating of my heart. You enchanted me and made me yours.

Lizy1

Over the years you grew into a charming young lady and a friend. Your smile enchanted our hearts and brightened our days. Your desire to live righteously guided those around you. I have felt and continue to feel honored to call you daughter.

Lizy2

You loved your family and protected them, taught them, showed them a loving example. We will always hold wonderful memories of your laugh, your lizard tongue, our hikes, plays, games, and music together. You enriched our lives and will continue to not only enrich our lives, but the lives of many to come.

Lizy3

We love you so much, Lizy, and miss you terribly. Today was so hard, not being able to celebrate your 13th birthday with you, though I know you were with us in spirit. We laid flowers on your grave and celebrated all things pink – just for you! Thank you for blessing our lives and the lives of so many others.

IMG_0774

IMG_3053

IMG_3054

IMG_3056

IMG_0782

IMG_3063

IMG_3066

IMG_3068

11 Comments

Filed under Child loss, Children, Lizy, Memory, Parenting

Planting Lilies for Lizy

lillies for Lizy

5 Comments

Filed under Child loss, Children, Family, Lizy, Nature, Parenting

Gaining A New Perspective

The first Monday after Elizabeth passed away I woke up between 5:30 and 6:00 in the morning. I couldn’t sleep. I lay thinking of my daughter and how much I missed her.  Paul woke up around the same time and we lay in bed talking about her and the recent events.

As the sky lightened, I had a sudden longing.

“Paul, lets go watch the sunrise,” I whispered.

He nodded his head and checked to see when sunrise was supposed to be – we had 3 minutes, so we got dressed and went to stand in the drive way.

We faced east and waited.

And waited.

The sun rose, but it was overcast, and while it was pretty, it was difficult to see much. Honestly it was a little dissapointing. There were a few tinges of pale pink and gold that crept around the heavy clouds, but nothing like what I imagined. I leaned my head on Paul’s shoulder and sighed. I wanted more.

Then, Paul turned and looked behind us – towards the west.

“Look!”  He said, and I turned.

Behind us the clouds were bathed in golden pink light. My heart thrilled and I felt close to my little Lizy.

I thought about that beautiful moment many times in the past week. How often do we become focused on what’s right in front of us or on a single moment and fail to notice the beauty behind or all around? How often do we fail to see the little miracles, or even bigger ones, because we are focused on one major, specific event?  How often do we not notice how blessed we are because they come from unexpected places?

Life can send us many unexpected events. We can miss the blessings in these events if we only focus on where we expect the blessings or joy to be. We need to have a 360 degree perspective to really find all the joy in life. We never know when it might be right behind us.

Lizy’s death was tragic and unexpected, and we miss her SO very much, but just like our surprise sunrise in the west, we have witnessed so many unforseen blessings and miracles through this.

We have felt sorrow, yes, but also peace and immense, powerful, joy.

The sun will always rise on our sorrows….. if we let it.

13 Comments

Filed under Child loss, Children, Lizy, Miracles, Nature, Parenting

Lizy’s Eulogy

Ray of sunshine come to play
Scatters rainbows dancing merrily
Chasing storm clouds from my face

Teasing me as I try to catch it in my hand
It breaks into a million pieces
As giggles bounce off the walls
Infusing everything with sheer delight of life

A splash of gaiety to even the darkest of days
I never thought I could hold a piece of sun
Until I held you.

Elizabeth Ane  was born April 22, 1999, to Paul and Julia in American Fork,Utah. She was born two weeks early and proved to be unexpected throughout the remainder of her life.  From her earliest days she enjoyed sticking her tongue out and thus earned the nickname Lizard. Her favorite toy was always her sister, Dorothy, and as they entered the family, Emily, Jacob, James, and Robert became subject to her fun-loving nature and imagination, and her love of Pink.

Lizy always had a genuine  smile  that warmed the heart and made everyone around her feel better about themselves.  She loved people. It didn’t matter who they were, what age, or where they were from. When she was eight she decided to host her first lemonade stand. She insisted that all the funds raised went to the Children’s Heart Foundation to help kids like her brother.  Whether it was a secret smile and wave from the primary choir or raking a neighbor’s leaves she lived to bring joy into others’ lives, and the color pink.

She always had this way of looking on the bright side of things. No matter how bad a situation was she always found a good way of looking at it. She loved looking at the world through rose colored glasses because everything looked pink.

She loved nature and being outside. She was a huge advocate for our family camping trips and hikes. She would race ahead on the trail to hide behind a tree, hoping for the chance to scare her daddy, and how she grinned when he pretended to jump in surprise.  She loved the ocean, building sand castles, playing with cousins, splashing in the waves, and she loved the sunsets, especially when they turned pink.

Lizy loved being goofy. Sometimes it was on purpose, and sometimes on accident. One time when she was in third grade her sister asked at dinner how we could taste things.  She proudly proclaimed that, “It’s the taste bugs on your tongue that do the tasting!”  There was also one night when we were having spaghetti and she asked “Could you please pass the noods?” We all started laughing and she turned beat red, while giggling herself.  She learned all the jokes she could and shared them with anyone who would listen, especially if they included the color pink.

She loved music. As a one year old she would sing her baby sister to sleep. She didn’t typically bang at the piano but try to make up sweet little melodies to sing to until she was old enough to learn to play. When she entered sixth grade she fulfilled a dream of hers and began playing the flute. Whenever she was angry or upset, she turned to music to comfort and we’d often hear the sweet (and sometimes sour) tones of her flute drifting from her bedroom and down the stairs.  She was tickled pink with the thought of participating in her first solo ensemble contest.

She loved being in Young Women’s, going to girl’s camp, and attending the temple with the youth.  She earned her Faith in God and loved working on her Personal Progress.  She helped keep her mother on track as they worked together setting goals. She did her best to exemplify each of the eight young women values. Many today come with their toenails painted in honor of Lizy. One color for each of the values she incorporated in her life. White stands for faith, blue for Divine Nature, red for Individual Worth, Green for Knowledge, Orange for Choice and accountability, yellow for Good Works, Purple for integrity, and gold for virtue.

Lizy loved the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If we forgot to hold family prayer or scriptures she would remind us immediately. She knew Jesus Christ was her Savior and that He loved her. She dreamed of going on a mission and being married in the temple. She strove each day to improve the person she was.  We know she had a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and loved to share it with others by simply being who she was and standing for her values.

We will miss her terribly, but we know she is happy. We know families can truly be together forever, and until we see her again, we will find her in people’s joy, in the flowering blossoms of a cherry tree, in the heartbeat of a child, the little twinkle in two people’s eyes, in the skip of a stranger’s step and in the pink of every sunrise.

21 Comments

Filed under Child loss, Children, Lizy, Parenting

In Memory of Lizy

Our wonderful neighbor across the street put this together for us for the funeral. We will cherish it always.

6 Comments

Filed under Child loss, Children, Lizy, Parenting

Lizy’s Obituary

“Elizabeth Ane “Lizy” dearly beloved daughter of Julia and Paul. Loving sister of Dorothy, Emily, Jacob, James and Robert. Dear granddaughter of Dorothy & Kimball and Pam & Robert. Also survived by numerous aunts, uncles cousins and friends.
Age 12 yrs. Visitation Friday from 5-8pm at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4610 N. Bend Rd. where funeral services will be held on Saturday at 10am. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Elizabeths name to any P.N.C. Bank Branch. Burial services private.
neidhardminges.com”

 

 

My husband and I are absolutely overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and prayer from not only people we know, but people we  have never met. Our hearts have swelled to read the comments from so many. Thank you for your love and support. Your prayers are felt and lift us up, giving us the strength to carry on.

13 Comments

Filed under Child loss, Children, Lizy, Parenting

Paint your toes in honor of Lizy

One of the young women in our ward visited Lizy the Thursday evening she arrived at the hospital. We were talking about painting her toenails. She could only have 8 of them painted, as one on each foot had to be left plain.

This wonderful young woman had a brilliant idea. Paint each toe to coordinate with one of the values in our Young Women’s Theme.

“WE ARE DAUGHTERS of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him. WE WILL “STAND as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9) as we strive to live the Young Women values, which are:

Faith

Divine Nature

Individual Worth

Knowledge

Choice and Accountability

Good Works

Integrity

and

Virtue

WE BELIEVE as we come to accept and act upon these values, WE WILL BE PREPARED to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.”

 Each of the 8 values has a color – Faith is White, Divine Nature is Blue, Choice and Accountability is Orange, Individual Worth is Red, Integrity is Purple, Knowledge is Green, Good Works is Yellow, and Virtue is Gold.

Join our rainbow!

Lizy's Toes

IMG_0457

1 Comment

Filed under Child loss, Children, Lizy, Parenting