Saturday, July 26, 2008

Friends and Family

We had 10 children and 6 adults staying in our home last night. My brother Morgan and his wife Elizabeth and their 3 kids, our mutual friends Karsen and Kevin and their four little girls. Karsen and I were friends in college when Jon and I met. She recently moved into my brother's ward and is my sister in law's visiting teaching companion. I know. Small world.

Karsen and I have coincidentally had children at the same general time and they have all been girls. Our kids met for the first time 2 months ago. It was so fun to spend time with them and let the kids get better acquainted. It was also fun to see her little Emma walking. She is just a few weeks younger than Camille and wasn't walking when we last saw her. Camille hadn't started walking yet either.

Karsen worried how I would feel around Emma. Actually, I loved seeing her. I wish she knew me well enough to come to me and give me a hug. When I saw her walking I thought to myself, "Someday I will see Camille do that too and it will be all the sweeter for the wait."

Today has been a sweet day. We had our friends watch all 10 kids, while Jon and I and Morgan and Elizabeth joined my 3 other siblings and their spouses and my parents at:
We went to visit our chef friend Chris at the Bouchon Bistro. He gave us the royal treatment, and after around 20 desserts, we all left on a serious sugar high.

Here are a few of the carmel popcorn bags he sent home with us.

It was so wonderful to have the complete family all around the table in a circle enjoying each other and the wonderful food. I love my family. When we got home our company all packed up and headed out to home. Then within an hour our friends Daleen and Leonard and their 4 kids arrived to spend the week with us.

Daleen, my sister in law Nikki, and I treated ourselves to a pedicure.
Now we are about to head out to dinner.

Family and friends are a comfort to me. They lift me up and make me smile. Thank you to all of you friends who buoy me up. Friend from the past, and friends I haven't ever met. I appreciate you all.

17 comments:

Sarie said...

You are amazing. I have spent the last few hours reading your posts. I am still just frozen in amazement. My eyes are all red now and I'm sure I'll look horrible at church tomorrow morning! I have three little daughters, the youngest just four weeks old and I can't imagine losing one of them. Your faith is inspiring. I am LDS and I love our church. Your strong faith and belief in our religion has really helped me this evening, as I have been feeling detached lately.

Thank you again for refreshing my zest for loving and appreciating my girls. I have held my baby through my tears, kissed her head, and re-memorized the weight of her body against my chest.
Thank you.
Sarah

Kathryn said...

I'm so glad you got to see Karsen! I love adult family dinners too. Sounds like a wonderful day. Maybe Spencer and I should plan a little trip to see you guys and eat at Bouchon Bistro?! :) As one of your "friends from the past" I have to say you have always been such a wonderful person to talk to and spend time with! All of your friends, past and future, are blessed to have you in their life! Hugs to you!!!

Familia Martinez said...

Steph,

It is a testimony to me of the love that our Father in Heaven and Savior have for us all as I read your words. You uplift those around you even though at this time in your life you are the one that needs the comfort. I always admired you when we lived in California near you.

Do you know that you were the first people to extend a hand of fellowship to us when we moved in. I still remember standing there with your brownies in hand (standing because we had so much stuff in the front room that we couldn't sit down). You came just to say hi and welcome. We talked about Araya our newborn and your soon to be newborn Lauren.

You are right that time seems to go too fast and yet it seems to stand still at the same time. It is hard to believe that it has been over two years since we have seen you guys.

I have asked Anthony what were some of the things that helped him most when his first wife Maryanne passed away. He has said many of the same things that you have said. As someone on the outside of the situation and even those of us sometimes on the inside of the situation just don't have the "right words".

As Anthony has said, and you have said as well...there aren't any "right words" just words and actions that let that person know that you love them.

We do love you guys and miss you. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of you and have a prayer in my heart for you. You give me strength when I want to be the one that helps you. But in some small way I pray that through our prayers, thoughts, etc. that you will feel our love for you.

Do you remember that yummy brownie recipe that we used to make. I can't even remember what it was called but it was so rich that you could only have one piece without getting sick...well maybe two. =) I could go for a batch right now at 12:18 a.m. as I sit here thinking that I should be in bed but instead I am thinking of brownies.

Remember how we went off chocolate for a month. Yeah I really need to do that again but it is just so dang good. =>

Have a Happy Sabbath tomorrow and remember that you are loved, both here on this earth and beyond the veil by a precious little angel.

Love Ang

Anonymous said...

Stephanie, you don't know me but 2 different friends have suggested I go to your blog. I lost my 17-year old daughter, Jenna, in October in a single car accident. Her twin sister was driving. Jenna never regained consciousness and passed away 7 days later.

Your entries are so eloquent...I can't even bring myself to journal. I have not committed a single thought to paper since this happened. It's just too painful but I know I will regret it. The memories of the week in the hospital, the support of my family, my community, my ward, my stake are beginning to fade. I believe Jenna's death had purpose. She had an unwavering testimony of Heavenly Father's plan. I know this because she had born her sweet testimony just two Sundays before the accident. I learned more about my precious daughter in death than I had in life.

Your entries are so meaningful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Ellen Sigety
jennasigety.com

Jeanette said...

I am glad you had a good time with your friends and your family. A little escape every now and then is so refreshing I think.

I spent all weekend cleaning and now I am exhausted but my house looks amazing. I just keep wandering from room to room feeling happy because everything is in it's place and dust free (For the next ten minutes at least)

Ellen Sigety said...

Stephanie, you don't know me but 2 different friends have suggested I go to your blog. I lost my 17-year old daughter, Jenna, in October in a single car accident. Her twin sister was driving. Jenna never regained consciousness and passed away 7 days later.

Your entries are so eloquent...I can't even bring myself to journal. I have not committed a single thought to paper since this happened. It's just too painful but I know I will regret it. The memories of the week in the hospital, the support of my family, my community, my ward, my stake are beginning to fade.

I believe Jenna's death had purpose. She had an unwavering testimony of Heavenly Father's plan. I know this because she had born her sweet testimony just two Sundays before the accident. I learned more about my precious daughter in death than I had in life.

Your entries are so meaningful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Ellen Sigety
jennasigety.com

Ellen Sigety said...

Stephanie, you don't know me but 2 different friends have suggested I go to your blog. I lost my 17-year old daughter, Jenna, in October in a single car accident. Her twin sister was driving. Jenna never regained consciousness and passed away 7 days later. Your entries are so eloquent...I can't even bring myself to journal. I have not committed a single thought to paper since this happened. It's just too painful but I know I will regret it. The memories of the week in the hospital, the support of my family, my community, my ward, my stake are beginning to fade. I believe Jenna's death had purpose. She had an unwavering testimony of Heavenly Father's plan. I know this because she had born her sweet testimony just two Sundays before the accident. I learned more about my precious daughter in death than I had in life.

Your entries are so meaningful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Ellen Sigety
jennasigety.com

e said...

my toes should be in that circle! but alas, they are still icky. this last week was a pleasure. I love being near you, through the highs and the lows. miss you already. xoxo -e

Julie said...

Thank YOU for being a friend. We visit every day... you just don't know it! : )

Glad you are having some company. Serving others always lifts me up and out!

I will miss your blogs while we are at family camp this week. But I will be catching up when we return.

Be blessed, stay strong, you are not alone.

Julie
Sacramento

Mesha said...

Stephanie,
I could write you for hours! I just spent several hours reading as much as I could of you blog - I got through a lot of it - much of it through teary eyes. I learned of you through a friend of mine Amy. Amy and I were at dinner with our husbands a few weeks back and were were talking about everything under the sun including SYTYCN. We talked about our favorite performances and one by Mia Michaels came up and I told her it was one of my favorites. She was surprised and I told her that it reminded me of parents that had just lost their baby.

Amy knew of your blog and told me some of your story. The first thing I felt was this incredible weight as I thought of how painful it must be to help, love and teach your older daughters through this. Tears were immediately present as I thought of this unsurmountable task.

I have a daughter(9mos) who graduated to the spirit world 14 years ago. (That is what we refer to death as or passing - simply because that is what it is. She only dies if we let her. If we don't keep her alive by including her in our family, openly talking about her, feeling her presence, sharing our experience with others.)
She came before our two boys. I felt close to her as I read through your blog, I love that. I cannot imagine having to comfort other siblings left behind, God bless you. From all that I have read you are doing an excellent job - just fabulous. I really love the magic blanket - I think at my house we would probably each need one and would probably find ways to pin it around us as we tend to daily chores! You probably do though - you probably find that your Heavenly Father is carrying you, with magic arms around you and prompting you with things that you can do for your children. Looking back I saw that my Father in Heaven carried me while I ran (I say that because that is my usual speed for walking!) for two years.

In the Mia Michaels dance there is a part where she runs while being "carried." That reminds me of that time in my life. I thought you would love to rewatch the dance just incase you haven't already thought that it reminds you of a couple who had just lost a baby. I suggest this just as a pure means of feeling the raw emotion that comes when we miss out on enjoying the rest of a family members life here on earth. Feeling these emotions is so important. For now I will leave you with the youtube link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeKkUQAWkgU
My bed is calling me!
Even though it is so late you are in my prayers. - Mesha

Oh and I pasted the emails that lead me to this point tonight below - I thought you would be interested in the way Amy analyzed the dance and her complements to you, we all need them right! - but, don't read it until after you watch it.


AMY:

MESHA!!

OH MY GOODNESS GIRLFRIEND! I would call you right now, but it's too late. O.k. - so I got on Youtube and watched that dance with Katee and Joshua that Mia Michaels corroegraphed which you told me I need to go back and watch with the perspective of a couple who had just lost a child.

YOU ARE SO SPOT ON!!!! As a matter of fact, I can't understand how that number could mean anything OTHER than that! OH My goodness girl.

From the get-go you see them take a few painful steps forward, only to be knocked back again. HELLO! I'm sure that Just when you would think you were making some progress, a bad day, a random memory knocks you back into what seems like square one. THEN, in the dance, it looks as though they are so immersed and lost in their own pain individually, that when they turn around and see eachother, it is almost like they are thinking, "Oh ya, you're going through this too..." Suddenly they look down at their hands and there is nothing there...like...where is my baby...my baby was just right here.... and then... ANGER, frustration, loss.

Then, throughout the dance you see her on the verge of completely "Loosing it." She is unstable and her whole foundation is rocked...almost like her whole world is SO out of whack that it's hard for her to function....she's lost in her own space, and ready to collapse at any moment. Just like ANY mom would be at the loss of a child. She is SO uncomfortable that it's almost like she's trying to ESCAPE, she's reaching out for a piece of her that isn't here anymore, and just when she is about to run out of her sanity, he is there to catch her, or hold her, or carry her. You see him throughout some of it, endulging in his own feelings, pain.. longing, unrest... but all in all, he comes back to be her strength.... putting his feelings aside for a time in order to get HER through it. There's even a moment where it looks like he's caught her and cradled her for just a moment when she might have finally caught an ounce of much needed sleep after a long time of being unable to sleep. It was ALL THERE. I had tears.

WOW....amazing. Thanks for shedding the light on that for me. Not just on the dance, but to think that you have dealt with that kind of pain in your life at such a young age... YOU are incredible Meesh. You really are. INcredible girl.

Missing you.

AMY

MESHA:

I just re-watched it - did you hear the words to that song? "Oh... my world" So powerful. I never noticed that before. I would give the credit of Joshua being there for Katee to my Dad. That just makes it even more emotional - right? The steps forward are the days that come even though you don't ask them to and the steps back are the days that you walk into stores where acquaintances ask how your daughter is doing and you have nothing to say, or even months later you walk into your Mom's work and out of pure habit she asks, "Hey Mesh! Where's Taylee?" and then you both just break into tears. Really I did have days that, or nights I should say - 3 specifically where I heard a cry (or a moan even) that was so deep - I didn't know it could come out of me nor last that long, where I felt so hopeless I didn't care what became of me, if I lived or died. One was in my car, and two in a field. Strangely they all came at unexpected times after she graduated.

Then daylight would come and with it gratitude, that she was a part of my life and that I got to enjoy her fully for most of hers. Perspective came with time - oh, and that part in the song where she runs for a long time with help - that was God, for two years I ran with his help. Life makes more sense being looked back upon. However in the thick of it, or looking back on it I don't understand how people do it without understanding God's plan for families. Were you the one telling me about that mom that has other children and that had just lost a baby? - She needs this dance - just to let emotion out. WOW! I think that this dance is just brilliant!

I was glad to watch it again after your description. Thanks Amy
Love you - Mesh

AMY:
MESHA!!!!

O.K. - so basically, you HAVE to check out her blog!! YOU HAVE TO. http://www.adailyscoop.blogspot.com (I'm talking about the mom who just lost her baby girl in June to a drowning accident.) She is from Vegas, lives in Vegas, and since this accident happened, her blog has been visited by people all over the world...NO EXAGERATION. I can't even explain to you how inspirational her words are. She is an extremely good writer and has perspective that you would not believe. She has hundreds of people who don't even know her reading and commenting on her blog, and has realized that the purpose in her daughter's death is being fulfilled by the missionary work she is able to do THROUGH HER BLOG, because so many non-members and members alike are reading it. She considers herself and her daughter missionary companions.

Really Meesh...It is that good. Also, she is a so you think you can dance fan... and you need to be the one to tell her to look at that dance again in a different light. I would be surprised if she didn't see it in that light already, unless it was aired before the tragedy. She is really an incredible strength to SO many women right now. She openly discusses blame, pain, what to say/do and not to say so someone who is grieving, and just is able to pour her heart out in a simple to read way that has you just feeling SO BLESSED, so grateful to be a mother.

Anyway...I appreciate your words and giving me some insight to your experience with Taylee... Tell me again how old she was. I also really wish I could have known your dad. You need to tell me more about him.

Well girly - tomorrow is Sunday...wish you were here!

Love,
AMY

Shanan said...

It's an honor to be your friend Steph.

321forme said...

Stephanie,
When you said on your post that you are thankful to friends from the your past and ones you don't know, I thought I would "come out" and say I am one of those you don't know. We live in Utah, but spent several years in Vegas teaching school. My cousin mentioned your blog on hers and I decided to take a peek. I spent hours (way past midnight and way past my normal bedtime) reading because I couldn't stop! Your faith and testimony caused mine to grow leaps and bounds that evening. I went in and kissed all six of my babies one more time (we have 8 year old triplets, 5 year old twins and a baby girl very close to Camille's age...she was born June 1, 2007). I cried with you and smiled with you. You reminded me what things are important, and it definitely isn't those small battles that I find myself in with my children all too often. Since finding your blog a few days ago, I think I have been a bit kinder, a bit gentler, and I have definitely held onto my little ones a little longer. You are amazing. You are one of my heroes, even though we have never met. May you and your family continue to be blessed and find comfort in those times that you need it. You will be in our families prayers.

noorda notebook said...

hooray for good friends! sounds like such a great day yesterday. i always look forward to spending time with my family too. in fact i'm driving up to see them tonight!

cat

jennifer said...

I have posted once before. I wanted to let you know I know how you feel. Sometimes it helps to know that others understand. My baby boy passed away one week ago. I miss him so much. I too find days where getting out of bed is the hardest thing ever. He is my second baby in the past 3 years that has returned home. What makes me able to function everyday is the fact that I know Heavenly Father loves me, that he wants what is best for me, and that through these experiences with my boys I am able to grow closer to him and be a better mom, daughter, friend, sister, and spouse. I pray that you find peace on the days that are hard. He is always there, for he is carring you now just as he is carring me.

karsen said...

I can't believe that we really had that many kids under the age of 7 running around...so fun!!! Gotta love those girls (and Berk...)! So great just to be around the Waite family. Love you!

josey landser said...

Family is the heart of all

Heywood Clan said...

I can't get enough of your blog. Your words are so inspiring. I am so thankful for you. I am so sorry that you are going through this, but I am so thankful you are willing to share your sweet words with all of us. I am truely a better mom because of you. I have been able to let a lot of the little things go and enjoy more time with my kids. I can't thank you enough.

Amy