Monday, October 20, 2014

Wake me up.

When you're young, life is full of new and exciting adventures. You feel invincible.  You don't realize that you aren't until it's in your face. You have no idea how you will be able to ever survive, how you can continue to breathe everyday. It's just too hard.  You're faced with only two choices, get up and move forward or stay down and die. So I got up. I moved forward, one step at a time, one long deep breathe at a time, until I didn't have to think about breathing anymore, it just came. 

When I met Joel all I could think about was how wonderful it felt to love someone so much and to be loved the same. We were silly and completely happy. I was young and naive, in a sense. I remember sitting in the temple parking lot after he had passed away and watching a bride and groom walking around the grounds with their photographer in tow. Laughing, feeling all the joy eternity can hold. I talked to them through my car window, begging them to never take each other for granted, never loose sight of why you're here today, or of the love you have for each other and the joy you feel at this moment... because life is hard and you will struggle.  Your spouse might loose his job, or you might not be able to have children or... he might die. But right now, you don't have a care in the world, these things are not on your mind. How can they be? Things like this don't happen to people like us, young people, but they do. 

There is a song called "Wake Me Up" By Avicii. I heard it many times before, but when I heard my friend sing it, I really listened to the lyrics for the first time.   I could relate to so many of the words I was hearing. I was on a journey to finding myself when I didn't even know I was lost. The first paragraph of this song says, "Feeling my way through the darkness, guided by a beating heart. I can't tell where the journey will end, but I know where to start." I am getting through the death of my husband because of my faith. My knowledge of my Savior, Jesus Christ, and my love for him, and Heavenly Father's love for me. It was dark, this journey I didn't want to be on, I was feeling my way though, guided by my heart and my faith.  What was God's plan for me? I knew where to start. I fell to my knees pleading for his help to get me through this. This was MY start.

I can't tell you how many times I wanted it to be over, to be woken up when it was all said and done, when all the pain was gone, the sorrow, the growth,  "Wake me up when I'm wiser", I didn't want to have to work for it!!  I have knelt many times asking God, "Why me? Why my children? Please help me understand!" It has taken me 11 years to get my answer to this prayer. It did not come all at one time. It has come slowly, 11 years slow, and I know it is still getting answered and will be every single day for the rest of my life. WHY ME? The answer for me was, and is, this: The wisdom and knowledge of feeling God's love for me, feeling the power of prayer, developing a love for the scriptures,  learning to rely on the Lord more, and also, to rely on myself, to feel God's hand through another, to be led to another man who loves me, and I him,  8 beautiful children, for more family, for a testimony, for love , to grow in strength and courage.  This is why me! This is my test, my test to give me all the blessings that God has in store for me. To help me grow into the woman he knows I am, and can become. And hopefully, to help and serve others, be his hands, KNOW HIM. 

I miss my husband everyday. I love him everyday. My heart has been opened and expanded to love more because of him and because of my Heavenly Father. When you wake from your sorrow, when the pain lifts just a little, and your darkness turns into light, even just a bit, you can see the beauty in all of the trials and find the courage to wake up and breathe.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Vision

Here's the thing about might, I never really thought too much of the word until I had to have it.

In the weeks and months, who am I kidding, years that followed Joel's death I had to find my might, my strength to go on, to find joy again, to live.  It took a lot of courage and might to just get up every morning, to shower, to get dressed. the very basic things in life are so much more challenging. I wanted to be strong for my kids, for Joel, I want to make him proud and I was so scared I was going to screw it up. I needed to have strength to go on, I needed my might. 

I remember my sisters-in-law taking me to the mall to look for something to wear for the funeral. I looked at all the people walking around laughing, shopping, eating, just living life like nothing had happened. Didn't they know that life had stopped, something so horrible had just happened? Why were they laughing? We walked into Deseret Book and I sat down in the middle of the isle. I felt too tired to walk anymore or look for a book that will tell me all about grief. I didn't need a book to tell me what I was already feeling. As I was sitting there a song came over the speaker system. It caught my attention immediately. It was the song Joel was humming to me in my vision the previous morning.
The night before I saw Joel in a vision had been a rough night, very little sleeping for any of us.  My sister-in-law, Lindsey, had slept over that night, early that morning I woke up and rolled to my side. I didn't want to get up yet, or ever. I closed my eyes again and found myself standing at the bottom of my stairs, I looked up and saw Joel standing there next to Savannah's room. He was humming a song that I didn't recognize and holding Savannah's hand. He let go of her hand and walked down the stairs to meet me, he sat down and I knelt between his legs. His eyes were piercing blue and his skin had a glow to it. He was more magnificent than anything I had ever seen. We didn't say a word, but the love he poured out of him for me was beyond words. I felt like he had his arms tightly wrapped around me but he did not move. He was in my very soul. Then he was gone! "Wait, it's not been long enough!" I opened my eyes and yelled for Lindsey to grab me my journal, "I saw Joel Linz!" 
This vision is forever ingrained into my mind and heart. He looked so happy, so peaceful, so full of Christ-like love. There really aren't any earthly words to describe my emotions. 

I bought that CD at Deseret Book, the one with the song that Joel was humming to me in my vision. I took it home and searched every song on the CD until I found it. I just layed there and cried.  Oh, how I miss my friend, and what tender mercy was shown to me that morning!

Here is that song.
By Kathrine Nelson
- You Can Let Me Down-

Let me feel the scars on your heart so I can sing you to sleep, Let me touch the tears as you cry so I can hold you as you weep.
You don't have to keep it all inside I will keep your secrects like they're mine.
So you can fly, you can fall, you can even loose it all. I'm going to love you, you can let me down.
I need to be the place in this world you wanna run to always find peace. I love you when the hope is all gone, I love you strong and I love you weak. Whether you will triumph or break, you know I'll stand beside you either way. And everytime you need me, I love you more. Believe me, I'm here.

I know God lives, I know he loves me, I know he hears my prayers. I know he knows my trials and I know he knows my might. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The beginning.

It has taken me 10 years to create this blog and post on it. I sit down to write and I get physically and mentally tired. It's a hard thing to write about something that is so painful. It's almost impossible to find the right words.
I have a hard time knowing just what I should write, what is the purpose for this. But I know I need to. The spirit has whispered to me many, many times over the last few years that I must do this.  I have had so many moments of insecurities and doubts, wondering, "Why would I be prompted to write about this?" I'm not a writer, I have a hard time expressing the things I feel.
I have spent many nights on my knees asking Heavenly Father for guidance so that I might know what he wants me to write.  Then in a still moment I felt the promptings of the spirit,  just write whatever it is that comes to mind, any painful thought or happy moment, just be open and share. Maybe there is one person out there who needs to read this, maybe that person is me? I have much to be grateful for and I need to share my experiences.

Mark 12:
42. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites which make a farthing.

43. And He called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:

44. For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living. 

I think about this poor widow alot. Who was she? What was her name?  Did she have children? How long had she been a widow when she cast in her mites that day?
I think she was young, too young to be a widow.
The line that sticks out to me over and over again is "but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living."  Maybe that just meant her money, all her "living" all that she had to provide for her family. But, now, to me this line means something different.
It is just what I did when my husband died. I cast in ALL of my living. That day, August 10, 2003 I gave all my will, trust, pain, sorrow and anger over to the Lord. All I was, all my hopes, and my fears were given over to Him.  Everything I had and everything I am.

I guess a good place to start is at the beginning, 

That night Joel was not feeling well, he complained that his stomach hurt and that he couldn't sleep.  When we finally went to bed, he tossed and turned and then stood, bent over, by the bedroom window. I remember just what he looked like standing in the moon light. He said he was going to go lay on the couch and watch TV for awhile. He kissed me and went downstairs. That was the last time I heard his voice. 
It was August 10, 2003, a Sunday morning. The phone rang around 8:00am and woke me up. I turned to my side and noticed Joel was not there. I got out of bed and crossed the hall to go to the bathroom. I looked down the stairs as I passed and saw Joel on the couch, "He doesn't look good," was my first thought, then my second thought was, "Dang I have to teach primary alone today." I went to the bathroom and had a very strong feeling to go get some clothes on. This is not normal, something is not normal. I did not want to look downstairs again as I returned to my room. I put some clothes on and went to the top of the stairs. I took one step down and called his name, "Joel?" Something was wrong! I stepped down a few more stairs and called a little louder. Nothing! I got to the bottom and walked to him, "This is not happening!" I thought. I looked at his foot that was resting on the floor, it was black and blue! I yelled at him "JOEL! JOEL!" I touched his chest, then his cold forehead, I shook him, I begged him to wake up, "PLEASE, JOEL WAKE UP!" I screamed and fell against the wall,  "God!" I yelled.  I often wonder why I yelled God, maybe it was a call,  no, a plead for him to help, to please be with me now!

I called 911 and they asked if I wanted to preform CPR, I told them no, he was gone, I knew it, I didn't want to believe it but I knew it. It was too late. His body was cold, his foot was black, he was stiff. I begged for them to hurry and get there, and then opened all the doors and windows, I felt like I was suffocating, "I can't breath! This is not happening!"  I  picked up Joel's cell phone and called his sister Melanie.  I screamed to her that Joel was dead.

Could this be real? Could Joel really be dead? He is only 26! A few hours before he was telling me how wonderful and dear I was to him and how much he loved me. Did his spirit know it was his last few hours? Did he sense something?
I remember some details about this day so clearly like when the first police officer got there and he checked for a pulse and then talking into the radio on his shoulder and reporting to who ever was on the other end that, "He is down." "NO!" I wanted to scream at the officer and beg him to bring him back, but I didn't. I already knew.  Or another vivid memory was  the look on Joel's dad's face as he walked slowly into the house to see his son. "My boy, my boy!" he cried out loud as he held him in his arms.
On the other hand, some things I don't remember ever happening at all until someone tells me about it.  Like, the other day, Sara, my oldest told me about sitting on the grass out in front of our house with my kids by my side and all the rest of the family circling around us, almost as if to protect us from the outside world.

As more and more cops and family showed up I went outside to sit on the porch. One of the officers brought my sweet 2 year old, Savannah, to me and sat her on my lap,  all dressed for church. He heard her cry out from upstairs while all the commotion was going on and went and got her. He had looked around and found a phone number for my friend, and visiting teacher, Cindy. He asked her to come get Savannah for me. I remember thinking how kind, thoughtful and gentle this man was.

As the family all gathered around my husband Joel, we cried and held each other. Joel's dad offered a prayer. I don't remember what was said, but I do remember that I felt Joel there. I felt his concern and sorrow for me and his family.

I am a widow, I'm 29 and my husband is dead. My kids have lost their dad and friend. I am alone. There are so many people around but I am ALONE.