20 May 2011

Good-bye Aunt Wendy! We love you and miss you!

Hallelujah! Hallelujah, hallelujah!  She fought a valiant fight and her suffering is done.  My Aunt Wendy is one of my Mom's two siblings and her only sister.  About seven or eight years ago she was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma (LMS) which is a rare form of cancer.  She had been in pain longer than that and looking for answers.  Yesterday, May 19, she died in her home around her two daughters, her husband and brother.

Aunt Wendy is such an awesome lady.  My parents were able to spend some days in Georgia with her right before she died.  On one of those days I called my Mom's cell phone, and she put me on speaker.  "How are you doing?" I asked.  "Great!  We're doing great and having a lot of fun together!" she said from the couch.  She was always positive and upbeat and brave.  I will miss her a lot!  She is such a beautiful, well mannered, and awesome person and anyone who met here was saying that within seconds. 

She came out in December with my Uncle Neil (their brother) and stayed for a few days.  It was so much fun to see her!  She was in pain, but she carried on cheerfully and took part in everything, including doing a great job being our BINGO caller, and the traditional paper crowns, which come from the Christmas Crackers.  Aunt Wendy just always kept going, only staying down when her tired body literally would not let her move anymore.  She is such a genuinely beautiful person and I will miss her.  I love her!  I love my family so much.  Each person really means a lot to me and I am thankful the Lord has placed us all in the same family tree.

What a blessing is family!

My cousin on the other side, Jenny, said "try explaining your uncle and aunt dying within two weeks of each other to your boss!"  I am glad I don't have a boss to explain that to, but it really has been a month of some difficulty!  Two years ago this month my Aunt Kirsti died, after her valiant, valiant 23 year fight with cancer.  So if things come in three's then we ought to be done with this for a while.

It is interesting just to experience different things in life and have new opportunities for learning and growth.  I have a real firm testimony about death and about the Plan of Salvation and so I have felt peaceful about these happenings.  However, these are people whom I loved my associations with and I am a little melancholy thinking that for this life, that association is over.  But I do believe we will all be reunited one day and be able to pick up those associations once again and continue our progression.

I am thankful for so many wonderful people in my life!  Love to you all and God be with you!

08 May 2011

The Frankinator, love you, miss you.

It is so great to belong to the big family of God.  One thing we have in common with everyone is suffering!  Elder Neal A. Maxwell once said "A few individuals may appear to have no trials at all, which, if it were so, would be a trial in itself.  Indeed, if, as do trees, our souls had rings to measure the years of greatest personal growth, the wide rings would likely reflect the years of greatest moisture-but from tears, not rainfall."  He says this in an article titled "Thanks Be To God."  He says that while the Lord has described His great plan of happiness, not one of us is likely to be a stranger to sorrow.

I am just sitting here thinking of all the people I know who endure hard things and do them so well.  This past week we spent in Phoenix where my Uncle "Frankinator" died.  Almost two years ago we were there for the funeral of his wife, my Aunt Kirsti.  Although a sad occasion, it would so nice to be together with my cousins.  All of the suffering they have experienced and witnessed in their young lives and into adulthood!  My Aunt Kirsti was diagnosed with cancer 23ish years before she died from it and had been through as many surgeries. She was amazing at appearing cheerful even when you knew she was in pain.  She was beautiful that way, like my Aunt Wendy who is going through the same thing now.  My uncle and aunt in Phoenix did an inspiring job at carrying on despite the challenges with her health and continued to teach their children good things.  I am so grateful for their lives and examples, and grateful for the lives and examples of their three children, whom I love so much.  I really, really do.  Their sufferings, their lives, their interests and their concerns are all important to me, and I always find myself wishing I was better at really showing others the way I care so much.

When I witness or experience suffering, I pray for the opportunity and blessing of helping other people feel of God's love.  As Elder Maxwell says, Heavenly Father does indeed have a wonderful plan of happiness, but that does not mean we will not experience sorrow.  Joseph Smith was reminded that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, descended below all things.  He was taught that "all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good."  I am thankful for that knowledge that somehow these things that seem so sad or that devastate us are somehow designed to make us something better.

I am thankful for my Mom today on Mother's Day and always!  I am thankful for how she is converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and her example of not running away or turning angry and bitter about her challenges with my Dad---and the other ones too!  It is amazing to hear her say, she whose life has been thrown in a whirlwind of hard changes, that she knows these things are the things she needs to experience in order to become what she needs to become.  In short, she is awesome to me!

And finally, to end I want to say that I LOVE being a mother.  Oddly enough, nothing sounds more fun to me than being the "Mommy!" these little people cry for in the middle of the night---or the middle of the store.  I really feel so blessed with the opportunity to hav my own children, and to raise them, to take care of them, and teach them.  Being a wife and mother are the best two things that have happened to me.  I am really thankful I get these experiences, and grateful to enjoy them so much.  Love to all of you, wherever you are and a HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to women EVERYWHERE!