Monday, July 7, 2008

Perspective

This is my world right now--zoomed in close, agonizing over the details. The details--be they beautiful or boring, painful or pleasant--the details are our everything. We wake in the morning with them staring us in the face and we lay our heads on our pillows at night either basking in their fullness or formulating how to survive or change them. I have heard Oprah say "love is in the details."  And so it is.  Perhaps that is why the details, the moments of life that you never forget and that form your very being, consume our constant focus. They are crucial.

There is beauty in the details--even the painful ones. It is a beauty born of love. Like mental photographs the details tell a story. These stories form the epic that is our lives. Even these epic stories of our lives are just the details, the footnotes even, in the history books of mankind. One can only imagine how our histories fit into the great scheme of the Creator's works.

Details produce the defining points of our lives.  This is one of the great defining points in my life. I write the story that will define me by how I endure the trials I face.  These are not easy days.  This story is difficult to forge.  But I believe that if I am careful and I can keep a firm mind and a heart full of love, even if it is an aching love, a thing a great beauty will emerge from these details.

Whatever our trials are in life, the gospel gives us the gift of perspective to guide us in our sorrow and affliction.  In the grand scheme of my life, this will be but a chapter.  It is hard for me to imagine a day I don't think about Camille with every breath, but I know in my head that will come. Part of me is terrified for that day to come. The better part of me refuses to live forever in this chapter. This chapter will form the rest of my story, but I hope that by the 500th page of my 1000 page life I am not still mourning the event of this too early, too sorrowful chapter of my life.

I can only hope the pain of this detail will make all the colors brighter, all the laughter heartier, all the love deeper, all the moments sweeter.  I can only hope that this defining detail will significantly impact the whole of the eternal perspective of my life for the positive. That by enduring well the Lord can make of my life a work of art.




32 comments:

Aubrey said...

I made my way to your blog from another one...I can't remember which, now. But I just wanted to say I have been very touched by your sweet testimony and family.

My husband and I lost our son Parker almost 4 years ago in a stillbirth. (He's our second of 4 and our only boy.)
Grief is so horribly consuming, but the atonement can heal that, as you have mentioned and experienced. And I just wanted to stop in and tell you that it DOES get better. After awhile the overwhelming sorrow subsides. And the eternal lessons and experiences become worth the pain you have to endure. The experience really does become beautiful art.
Just keep holding on and you will make it through.

Darren and Nikki said...

Steph- Thank you for your beautiful words and perspective. I love you.

Nikki

chanel said...

I read you everyday. I just couldn't keep reading without letting you know there is another person out there loving and praying for you. It seems unfair for me to get so much from you when there is so little I can do for you. But you are in my thoughts daily, my prayers daily, and my daughters have been given more and tighter hugs and kisses (often tear soaked) thanks to you and your insights. I have had my trials and leaned on the Lord and my faith, I have had spiritual expereinces that have grown my faith, but what you are able to do is just astounding. You are truely wrapped in His arms right now. How you have such strength and faith, and ability to share it with us all is truly a testiment of your incredible divine nature and love and trust in God and our Savior.
Thank you so much for sharing this journey with us, with me, a complete stranger. My heart breaks for you and your family, its part of the gospel to mourn with those that mourn, but I am grateful for your testimony and perspective and just wish all the comfort and peace you can possibly have during this defining chapter.

tharker said...

Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful thoughts with people that you don't know. Reading your words the last couple of days have had such an impact on me. I want to hold my children a little longer and enjoy every moment that I am blessed with to have them.

I keep thinking of our baptisimal covenants in Mosiah 18 :8-9. One reason that I love blogging so much is that I feel like we have an opportunity to fulfill this very scripture. We, those that do not even know you are willing to mourn with you, and offer our comfort to you. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

Shanan said...

Steph - your words are beautiful. The Lord will bless you - more than you can comprehend at this moment! Much love - Shanan

Carolyn said...

Steph, since the day I met you I have always been impressed with the "details" of your life and how your mind works and how you view life and the stories you tell. Thank you for sharing this chapter, as heartache as it is, with all of us everyday. I love you.

Amanda said...

I want to "copy and paste" everything that has been said. You are such an awesome tool in the Lords hands right now. Thanks so much for sharing with us. You are making me a stronger and better mother, sister, and friend. HANG IN THERE!

Anonymous said...

.. profound .. touching .. inspiring .. loving ..

Just a few of the words that crossed my mind as I read your post.

Be comforted, faithful servant.

Krainich Family said...

How my heart aches for your family. I am a friend of Ashley & Brent Gunsons. We lost our little boy 2 years ago at 22 months old from a tragic accident in Vegas also. I am so deeply sorry for your loss and the road you face now. Camille is just beautiful. She looks delightful. My prayers and thoughts are with you everyday. Much love and I will keep in touch.

Jori said...

We're all praying for you. Thank you so much for your inspiring words.

The Morris Fam said...

My perspective has been affected greatly! Thanks again!

Stephanie said...

Your ability to so beautifully share your experience has me in awe. I cannot begin to fully comprehend all that your family has endured. Thank you for sharing your personal testimony. You are touching us all deep in our hearts.Our prayers continue to be with you and yours

Marleen said...

So beautifully put.

This chapter may end yet her memory for you will never die.

I don't think that means that the majority of thinking of her will be like the ache you feel now of mortal separation. Someday, I hope for both you and Jonathan the thought of Camille will bring such wonderful hope and joy of what the future holds only.

I'll be praying for your better self to find that compromise with the other so the pain of that hole you've described will subside.

Rach said...

Very beautiful and profound, Steph.

Wishing you peace tonight.

HUGS!

Tristen said...

I, too have read your blog and though we have never met you have touched my heart in so many ways. Camille reminds me so much of my little 13 month old...the way she looks and the way you have described her personality. I try to remember to take more time and enjoy every moment I have with these sweet little spirits. Thank you again.

MaryClaire said...

i really have been thinking lately that you are probably having a hard time not thinking about her at every breath as you mentioned. you're probably afraid to allow that to happen. however, as you already realized though there will be a day when you don't think about her during every moment, you will still be living your life in a way that is a result of her influence. she will live in everything you do for she is shaping you and how you live, how you mother, how you love, and how you feel. she'll ALWAYS be with you...everywhere! and in ways that she couldn't be with you if she were still living on this earth with you.

Dana said...

Stephanie,
So well said! We love you & Jonathan and continue to pray for you.
Dana & Anna

nina said...

Sunday morning I awoke with puffy eyes and my husband asked why I had been crying the night before. I had to tell him that I had cried for over an hour after reading your story. I am a complete stranger to you, and although I don't know you, I have felt your tremendous spirit through your writing. Your words seem to have a way of touching anyone who reads them. I wanted to thank you for your testimony. Already so much positive has come from this tragic accident. You have truly brought people together and reminded them of faith, love, and true endurance. God bless you for sharing that. I know that no one will ever know the pain that you have experienced, but I wanted you to know that other mothers have wept with you while reading your story. I am so sorry for your loss.

The Alders said...

I too have found your blog through "the grapevine" and i am truely touched by your moving words. It amazes me the strength you have to continue to write and share your sorrow. you are an inspiration to me and i too will strive to live my life alittle better and enjoy my children, and hope for half the faith and endurance that you have to live my life and help me through the trials in my life that i may be faced eith. Thank you for your thoughts and i am truely sorry for your loss. you are in my thoughts and prayers. what a wonderful gift the atonement is. this is the time for you to see one set of footprints in the sand.... and He will help you through this trial. may peace fill your heart, and loving shoulders be there for you to lean on.

FrankNApril said...

I found your blog off another blog except after reading your blog I think you may be related to Julene?
I am in her ward. Anyhow, Heather Hout lost her baby Jaycee and has started a Mother's who grieve group. It is once a month. I am in the waterfall ward. I lost my son 13 yrs ago. He was 2 1/2 yrs.Old.
You are welcome to come to our group meetings. We have only had one so far. I am sorry for your loss, I am sorry for all that comes with losing a child! My heart is sad for you and your family! I send my love to you.
http://franknapril.blogspot.com/

April cuppcake29@aol.com

quaint handmade said...

i just learned about your blog today and i wanted to tell you that you and your family are in my prayers. i think you are a very strong person to write about the loss of your beloved camille and your words will help a lot of people who experience the loss of a loved one.

on the day my mom passed away, before she died, my co-worker told me about something that she learned in a workshop about stress. she said that there are times in life when things are going to be hard and it's easier to just accept it rather than try to figure it all out.

it was strange that she should share that with me on the same day. it helped me because i embraced the sorrow rather than try to keep a stiff upper lip.

xo, cindy

Anonymous said...

You don't know me, my name is Andrea, I came across your blog from another. My son was stillborn last month on June 10 at 38 weeks. It's been so difficult for me, but I can't even imagine what you are going through. I have read a bit of your blogs and I am grateful for your strength. It helps me to know how other people are dealing with their grief. I am LDS and Heavenly Father is literally helping me through every day. Thank you for your testimony and your strength, you have helped me to try to be stronger through my trials.

MCMULLIN FAMILY said...

My sister lost her young husband last year to cancer, leaving four young children behind. I have encouraged her to read your blog because you are inspiring and possess a beautiful testimony of hope and faith. You are in my prayers.

John and Rachael said...

Stephanie, I saw this quote from CS Lewis and thought of you:

"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of-throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace."

I too know the sorrow of loosing a dear, precious, loved one. Time does dull the pain, but there are still moments when I am consumed with memories. I am thankful for these moments because it is in those moments that I remember, love, and cherish the time I had with her. Life is sometimes painful and doesn't make sense but we have faith that our experiences here will make us into the "beautiful palaces" that God intended us to become. That through our experiences we can become purified and refined. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.

AmandaScraps said...

Thank you for your perspective. I've posted about you on my blog. I hope you will read it.

http://amandascraps.blogspot.com/2008/07/reflection.html

Ali Blogger said...

I've been praying for you and your family. I've given you an award! Check it out at http://procrastinationandthensome.blogspot.com/2008/07/sharing-love.html

Kathryn said...

Just caught up on your blog after several days away from my computer. Every entry is so touching and lovely. The video is amazing. I love all the photos. I like the new header for the blog too...is there some symbolism in those 4 ice cream cones and the 4th one being white? Thank you for making the effort and taking the time to include all of us in your journey. Please call me or email me if you ever need ANYTHING...it sounds like that won't be soon since you have your awesome sis and s.i.l.s' but I would still love to hear from you anytime. Love, Kathryn

Karsen said...

One of my favorite entries, Steph. Love it. Trying to live it. Need to be reminded of it every day.

janet said...

I don't know if this quote will be of any comfort to you, but it really helped me through a hard time in my life.

It's from C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity but the actually parable is borrowed from George MacDonald.. I quote it from page 176 (in my book)

"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of- throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself."

You have had major destruction going on personally and as a family.. but HE knows what He's doing. Keep trusting in Him.

Thinking of you and wishing your family the best.

Janet

Anonymous said...

I have 3 little boys and we lost our first daughter a year ago at the beginning of August after just 5 days on earth. In fact, I'm not sure of the details, but my parents may live somewhat close to you because Elder Cook came down to their stake too. They were part of the new stake that was created in BC.

I am so sorry for your loss. I remember in the days after losing our daughter thinking, "I wouldn't wish this on anyone, but yet it is comforting to know that there are others who have experienced this before and know what I am going through." I realize our situations are different, yet we both know heartache and what grief feels like and what it feels like to lose a daughter.

I am amazed at your ability to put your feelings into words. I often struggled to translate what I was feeling onto the page, but found comfort from others who were able to express similar feelings themselves. Then I could relate and say, "Yes, that describes what I am feeling too." Still now, a year after losing our daughter I am drawn to your writing because I identify with much of what you write and appreciate your profound thoughts interlaced with the gospel.

Thinking of you and your family during this time,

Whitney

Amanda said...

The picture you have of your daughter on this post with the Roses behind it, just brought tears to my eyes. It is a beautiful pictur.

Catherine said...

The details are different, but I too am well acquainted with crippling sorrow, over a long period of time. I simply want to say that I absolutely love the last line of this post about endurance as art. It took me years to achieve this insight that has come so clearly and so soon to you, but your words say exactly what I now know through experience to be true. That one sentence can be your lode star and your wondrous gift to your girls for years to come. Write it on your forehead, and thank you for sharing it with us.