Josh. Cali. McKallister. Oakland. Quincy. Camden. Murphy.

AirRescue Magazine!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My case was published internationally by AirRescue Magazine this past month! It was exquisitely written by one of my girls, Amanda with Windi pictured. Every time I read it, I get super emotional. And probably not for the reason you think. I still don't believe it is about me! This story; how quickly 911 dispatched everyone, the treatment planning, my girls presence at the scene, everyone's expertise, how they worked together... this? This is their story about how they saved a life.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Since the loss of Mac and Quincy, I have received 6 phone calls telling me of others who have suffered the loss of a child. Mostly friends or family wanting some insight on how to help...

Now I must say that everyone's situation is different, everyone's feelings are different, because everyone's baby is a special individual. And every one of those sweet spirits are important in this world in their own way. They touch our hearts in the most tender ways. When seeing pictures, holding their adored bodies and meeting their parents it brings back floods of memories.

When called, I mostly give advise for the day of, days to come, funeral and immediate feelings the parents will deal with, as far as I have experienced. But my birthday was this past week so in connection with that, I want to share my thoughts on having someone close to you lose a loved one- especially children.

Both of my boys birthdays are in June, so when that month rolls around I am pretty much considered useless to the human race. Their birthdays are hard for me to deal with, I re-live the worst moments of my life. I replay the looks on my families faces as they each enter the room. Emotions fill my heart and make it hard to breath at times. But what is worse than that are the days leading up to their birthdays. The anxiety I feel about one specific topic is unbearable....

I am terrified that no one will remember.

These two boys left such an enormous impact on my life, they are my kids and there are limited memories that I have of each of them. I feel guilty for expecting others to remember their birthdays, or Quincy's due date but I honestly am horrified of the day that rolls around and no one texts to tell me they are thinking of them, or that I will be alone in my feelings of want for them. I don't want others to feel it as an obligation, I just honestly pray that they will never be forgotten. I cherish them and I think like all Mom's, we want others to adore our kids as well. I'll never be able to post their accomplishments or new haircuts. I'll never be able to have others admire their kindness or success in sports. All I have is their birthdays.

Now some of their birthdays have gone by without a hitch or were planned in advance. On Quincy's first birthday, we were bringing Camden home from the hospital. On Mac's fourth birthday, I was just out of the hospital and my family threw me a surprise party at his grave. On Mac's second birthday, I spent it with both sides of my family at the lake enjoying the sun. But on some birthdays, I know nothing is planned and inner turmoil takes over.

But along with every birthday, I have been blessed with someone who followed the spirit. There is simply no other explanation for it. This year was no different. The day before my AFE anniversary my friend, Stacie, called and left me a message. "I know you probably already have plans but in case you don't, we should go on a hike!" What she doesn't know is that I hadn't answered the phone because I was having a full on break down. She saved me that day.

We hiked Ensign Peak, which was Stacie's idea, so that we could overlook the hospital that saved my life. What I didn't even realize is that it would also show the path the helicopter took to get to my house!

Kim, Stacie, Sarah and the kids seriously took my mind off of the hardships of that day. We laughed while we hiked (ok some of us tried really hard to just control our breathing- ME!), they all sacrificed their day, others went along with something they wickedly hate to do, and one may have injured their face. But for me, it was a memorable anniversary to add to my list with people that I truly LOVE!

We may have looked insane, hiking with 9 kids under 5!

After we got to the top, Stacie pulls out this tribute and by the end we were all in tears. Every time I read it, I end up in tears. It pretty much speaks for itself....
I will never be able to thank them all properly for that day, but I hope that they will always know the enormous place in my heart they will remain forever. The day may have been just another day for them, but the emotions I feel about it can not be described in a simple post. They are my friends. Good people through and through.
 The following day, Quincy's birthday, my Mom and I went to Liberty Park with the kids to do something fun. Something Quincy probably would have enjoyed.

 Being with my family is a choice way I will always want to spend the boys birthdays. And we have a tradition on their birthdays to go on a big ferris wheel to sing Happy Birthday to them when we get to the top! And then take a goofy picture.

McKallister's birthday rolled around and first thing in the morning was a knock at the door. I am sure flower delivery ladies get all sorts of reactions when they drop off a beautiful bouquet of flowers but I do not think she was prepared for the flow of tears that greeted her!
Our long time friends Jory and Lace have done this more than once, but every time it hits an emotional nerve. The flowers, to me, are more for Mac then they are for Josh and I and they prove me wrong- someone will always remember Mac! This was just what I needed to jump start my day and somehow these amazingly kind hearted friends knew that. And then the texts, messages, calls flooded in. And I was reminded how lucky I am to have certain people in my life.
Mac shares a birthday with an extraordinary friend's little boy, who was born a year after. So on that day I got to hang out with more friends and Oakland got to "celebrate Mac's birthday", Mickey Mouse style.

Mac's death was personal for Sarah, so I know she never minds but man does it show me how good people are that she allows Oakland and I to be there on her son's birthday and knowing that she doesn't care that Oak believes part of the celebration is for Mac, makes her astonishingly great.
I have been blessed beyond words for my family and with the friends that I have- some as close as family. So instead of some very harsh and sad days haunting my future, I will be comforted by these very tremendous people in my life and the memories they created for two very cherished boys.
So back to my advise... just be the person that remembers. Send them a text or call them to make sure they aren't alone that day. And not just in this situation, but in all situations. Just be a friend. Be the friend that you want for yourself on hard, lonely, crazy days. Be a friend they will remember for the rest of their life.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I have never seen a tornado in person. I am sure that I don't understand the intensity of those even seen on movies or TV. You can read about them and know that they are nature's most violent storm but there are family, friends, other amazing people who have actually had to live through such a heartbreaking ordeal. They cause fatalities. They devastate neighborhoods in seconds.

Now think of your own devastating tornadoes. The tornadoes of life. It may be divorce, loss of a loved one, sickness, a car accident, losing a job, cancer. It could even be breaking up with a boyfriend, not being able to keep up on the housework, failing a class. There are so many different degrees of tornadoes; F0-F5 and they can have a halting effect on each individual person.

But in life there is not a national weather service to determine where your tornado fits on the scale. Maybe it would be easier if there was a report stating that you are currently going through an F4 tornado. But life isn't that simple. We could both experience that same tornado but I walked away with minimum damage and your home got destroyed. Every single trial, mishap and hardship is like this.

I have met some amazing women and families that have lost children; as a stillborn, after living a few hours or even well into their childhood. And every single one of us deal with it differently. It's torn apart relationships, it has brought others together. I am part of a support group for those that have experienced an AFE in their life. It's shattering. Our storms range from both Mother and child surviving to families losing both to permanent neurological damage to children suffering as a result. Going through the adoption process; I have met many that have had failed adoptions, successful adoptions, or even waited years.

Four enormous things that I have learned through these events and am currently trying to do....

1. We never know what storms someone else is going through.
    The thing about trials, is that not all of them are outwardly noticeable like a tornado cutting through your neighborhood. There have been times when friends of mine have been going through the hardest times of their lives and I did not even know. We all have stories of when we really didn't think we'd make it to the next day and someone dropped off a plate of cookies or sent you a text just because. Now I can attest that life is busy. There are days that my kids don't even make it out of their pajamas. But everyone can do something. I want to be that person that lightens someone's day, even just a little bit. I want to be that person that is kind to everyone, no matter how kind (or not) they are. I want to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I want to smile at a stranger every single day.

2. Happiness is a choice.
     Now I'll tell you what... it is not an easy choice. There are days that I could stay inside all day. In my bed. But I notice the days that I serve my littles or the people in my life, are days that I'm not all that depressed. As we lose ourselves by serving others, we discover our own happiness. We see the joy that we bring to those who are in need and that joy can't help but bounce back on us. Now there may be some times that it goes unnoticed, anonymous or even the people we intended it for won't be grateful. But just the act of turning away from our own internal battles and turning towards someone else can help us truly feel joy.

     I have a distinctly different point of view than most because I have lost two very precious souls in my life and escaped death. There is not a day that goes by that I can't count my blessings. I've been given the gift to see the world as such a beautiful place. I can't take things for granted because I almost lost it all and I cherish my kids on earth because I have two in Heaven. Now, obviously, I am no where near perfect and I'm not saying the days aren't hard sometimes but I am grateful for the knowledge I have to repent and try again to be kind the next day or influence someone on a positive note. And I can truly say that I am happy.

3. Know your limits but stretch them.
    I still feel like there are times that my body is just not where it should be after my AFE. I'm still recovering physically and emotionally from losing my boys. So I do have to set limits for myself. I know how hard I can push myself every day but I never overdo it. I have learned to say no when necessary and then make up for that 10 fold on the good days. However, I now love to try new things and stretch myself outside of my comfort zone.

    For instance, if you knew me when Josh and I first got married you would probably describe me as quiet, kind but someone who stays in the background. Josh and I taught a marriage and family prep class for our church and I'm pretty sure I said two words the entire time- and that was when Josh was out of town on a baseball trip. I just didn't like putting myself out there, it made me very anxious. I didn't go out of my way to make new friends, or welcome new members. I tried to stay in as much as possible. Now I realize how short life is. How I only survived some days because of my neighbors and friends. One smile would change my entire day. A new face would remind me that there are so many good people in this world where tornadoes happen. Honestly, I stretch myself every day to be a constant happy, welcoming person. And it's making me a better, happier person.

4. Love your body.
  I'm sure you have all heard the saying that you are a tiger and have earned your stripes? AMEN! Love everything about yourself- your scars, layers, structure, feet. I love reading different articles that have come out on this subject. Our bodies are some seriously exquisite things. Mine has grown 3 beautiful kids. Mine fought to keep me alive. Mine manages the pain of blood clots. Mine has scars and extra skin and love handles and veiny legs.

But I am grateful for it because I am here today. Those lovely love handles remind me that I have amazingly gorgeous kids. The scars remind me every day that I survived, I am a warrior. And most of all, my Heavenly Father loves me and trusts me with this body. He wants us to be happy in all our uniqueness. He is proud of what our bodies do and look like. And he loves us, he wants us to love ourselves!

Everyday there are hundreds, thousands of tornadoes in your life, family and neighborhood alone. Be conscious about those around you, choose to be happy, stretch yourself to be a better person every day and LOVE the way you look and who you are! This world is great. Today is great. You are alive and beautiful!!!

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