Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Don't Just Survive...Live.

Cultivate an attitude of happiness. Cultivate a spirit of optimism. Walk with faith, rejoicing in the beauties of nature, in the goodness of those you love, in the testimony which you carry in your heart concerning things divine.”-Gordon B. Hinckley
I guess it has been awhile since I have shared my testimony, especially at church because Hannah is a wild child! :)

Lately I have been thinking about the song "How Great Thou Art." I sing that song a lot throughout the day because I truly mean it. Some days I can feel the Spirit just wanting to break down my front door and then other days I wonder if the Spirit is there at all.  I wonder all the time how I got to be so lucky with the husband that I have and the son and daughter that I have. I wonder why Heavenly Father chose me to bless so much. I am nowhere near perfect and I have learned that I will make a million mistakes, say the wrong things, do the wrong things, I may have offended people along the way but I have to remind myself that I have not been in this situation before and that I am doing the best that I can. 

 I have a new sign in my house that says "DON'T JUST SURVIVE...LIVE." I bought it at Kneaders and I knew right away I had to have it. I decided at the beginning of the year when I made my bucket list that I was going to live and not just survive because frankly I am tired. I am ready to have fun and ready to live this life the way that Heavenly Father intended.  One thing that I have struggled with is what other people will think when they see me smiling and having fun again. I think that is a natural worry. People judge, I have decided to not let that bother me anymore. That I just need to worry about me.
In the mornings I wake up and I say to myself, "Okay, another day to give Hannah the best childhood you can..." That is my goal. I want her to learn to live life joyfully knowing that she is not alone. To learn that when hard times come, TO LIVE AND NOT JUST SURVIVE. 

I think on judgment day when we see our Savior face to face He will ask us and say something along the lines of "DID YOU LIVE, OR DID YOU JUST SURVIVE?"  If we chose to survive through life than we didn't live the life that our Heavenly Father wanted for us, even if our life was full of trials. There is always time for happiness.  I understand that our Heavenly Father is merciful and if we did just survive through life he would understand, but because he is a Father he wants more for us. Like our own earthly parents would. He wants us to be happy.  My goal is to have more good days than bad and STOP just surviving. I miss Nick every hour of everyday, everything about him. I know that Nick wants me to live happily and to stop living in my grief. I see him in my dreams and I know he is working on something so special for his family.  Until then, in order for me to give Hannah the best childhood that I can, I need to lead by example to LIVE AND NOT JUST SURVIVE.

I wonder what it is all the time that will somehow make all of this worth it. I wonder what is in store.  I feel like I can still be a mother to Colton by leading by example. He see's everything I do just as Hannah does but I am sure he sees it on a spiritual level.  I want to make him proud. I know that my Redeemer lives.  I know that families are forever and that marriage is NOT until death do us part.  I have learned so much in this life already and I can't imagine what I will learn in the next 50 plus years.  I have learned that miracles are all around us, and that if we are aware we will notice them.  I love my family and I love my life.  They say to endure to the end, but I really hope that we remember to LIVE.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Controlling Stress, A few things I have learned and My 2015 bucket list.

"Perseverance means to continue in a given course until we have reached a goal or objective, regardless of obstacles, opposition, and other counterinfluences...Perseverance is a positive, active characteristic...It gives us hope by helping us realize that the righteous suffer no failure except in giving up and no longer trying.”
― Joseph B. Wirthlin

There is a song that I listen to a lot, I believe by the Weepies. It talks about how the world spins madly on. That songs plays in my head throughout the day when I feel like I am daydreaming through life or when I am just going through the motions. If I am not one hundred percent distracted, I sometimes feel like I am still numb. I wondered when this numbness feeling would go away, and A LOT of it has, my life does have joy and peace but everyday has that realization that life is a test. I feel as if the world is spinning madly on and I am just letting it pass by at times. I made it my goal this year to be more adventurous, have more fun, and create the best memories I can with Hannah.  I know that a stress free year is not possible but I am learning how to take that stress and turn it into something positive. If something were to just rock my world would I react? I hate that I have to keep preparing myself for the worst. I would like to just plan for the best but in the back of my mind is anxiety. A way that I turn a bad night or a stressful situation into something not necessarily positive but not as big of a deal as I normally would let it be, is too remind myself that this stressful situation is almost over and that I have done harder things. I pick the hardest thing that I have ever had to do, and then I compare the two, then I realize that hey this is piece of cake compared what I did that one time. All of a sudden when I do that with every stressful situation the less stress I am actually letting into my life.

Every day I thank Heavenly Father for Hannah because she is my little missionary. She was sent here and her calling was me. My life has joy and happiness in it because of her. Tonight like any other night I rocked Hannah to sleep and I sing her I know that my Redeemer Lives.  I wonder if I am really singing it for her or if I sing it because I really know that my Redeemer Lives.  I came to the conclusion that I sing it because I need it more than her.  It is a way that we unwind our day and I think about my family.  My rocking chair faces a picture of Colton hanging on my bedroom wall. I think about him and how big he is, giving birth to him, and what he and his Dad are up too. I think about what it would have been like to rock him to sleep.  The difference though between these thoughts now and these same exact thought a year ago are night and day. When I think about it now, I smile and I feel peace.

“There are times when you simply have to righteously hang on and outlast the devil until his depressive spirit leaves you. As the Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high.”-Ezra Taft Benson
Some things that I have learned this past year are lessons that I will live the rest of my life by.  I have learned that endurance is key, prayer is essential, peace comes to those who seek for it on a daily basis, life is just a short amount of time compared to eternity and we as humans have the amazing ability as children of God to do amazing things. 

My 2015 bucket list:
1.  Read my scriptures more
2. Spoil Hannah
3. Ride a hot air balloon
4. Travel
5. Go zip lining
6. Visit Rachel and meet baby Stacey
7. Go to the temple more often
8. Learn to not let others bother me
9. Pay it forward (service)
10. Get into a better routine
11. Be outside more (fresh air is so good for you.)
12. Go whale watching
13. Go hiking more
14. Stop feeling sorry for myself
15. Learn to forgive

I love my Savior and I love my life. I wouldn't trade it for anything, I would trade some of things that has happened for sure! But I wouldn't want anyone else's trials.  I am grateful for every trial that I now see as a blessing because it takes a long time for that to happen. Praying that 2015 will be filled with lots of fun and great memories! :)

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Wagon Wheel

"The difficulties which come to us present us with the real test of our ability to endure. A fundamental question remains to be answered by each of us: Shall I falter, or shall I finish? Some do falter as they find themselves unable to rise above their challenges. To finish involves enduring to the very end of life itself."
—Thomas S. Monson

They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I was not so sure about that in the beginning but as time goes on I am realizing that I am a whole lot stronger than I use to be. Days just keep going by and life keeps moving on.  I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing.  A good thing, because that just means I am one day or one month or one year closer to seeing Nick again. Bad because it is a day, month, year that I didn't get to see him.  The holidays are coming up and I am so grateful that I have Hannah here to just spoil and love on. I can focus one hundred percent on her. If I didn't have her I would probably just wallow in my grief through the holidays. October is coming up and it is a hard month for me. Last October just feels like yesterday. Last October was the last full month I got to spend with my husband. Nick and I always went to the pumpkin patch in Syracuse, we always carved pumpkins, and he was always so good at it.  I remember being just newly pregnant with Hannah last October, and we joked that we had another little pumpkin on the way.  Hannah is getting so big! She is almost 6 months and looks just like her Daddy. She is the happiest baby I have ever seen, probably because Nick has something to do with that. 

 I want to share something that I learned a few months ago. When it comes to prayer I realized that I was making a huge mistake.  It started when Nick died. Like I said I talk to Nick on a daily basis. As time went on I realized I was talking to Nick more than I was talking to my Heavenly Father, and before I knew I was asking Nick for blessings, I was asking Nick to bless Hannah and I was thanking Nick for all that he has given me. This went on for some time, when all of a sudden a small simple thought popped into my head and it said "What about me?" This thought had come from our Heavenly Father. I then realized that I was asking and thanking the wrong person. I was praying to Nick and not to our Heavenly Father.  Yes Nick has giving me everything, but let's remember who created all of this. Let's remember who gave me Nick in the first place. I immediately felt guilt and I immediately missed my Heavenly Father.  I had not realized that I had not thanked Him in a long time, because I was too busy thanking Nick. I wondered if anyone else had this problem. I thought that I cannot be the only one who does this.  I was praying to the wrong person.  I neglected to thank my Heavenly Father. These little things that I realize every day is a learning process. There is no one that can prepare you for all the mistakes I will make along the way.   
I listen to the song "Wagon Wheel" redone by Darius Rucker on a daily basis. I sing it all day long, I hum it all day long, Hannah knows the song. "Wagon Wheel" is a song that Nick and I loved.  It is OUR song. We sang it at a family reunion and we have multiple times belted out singing it in the car.  He loves and I love it.  Anytime I hear that song come on the radio or on my Pandora, I usually take it as a sign that Nick is thinking about me. I have sung it to Hannah everyday since she was born.  She recognized the song when I first sang it to her, like her Daddy had already sung it to her before. When she is crying in the car it is the only song that will get her to stop.
 I have been thinking a lot about a wagon wheel in general lately and what it actually means.  Personally a wagon wheel is symbol of mine and Nick's relationship and marriage. When I see one, or think of it, I think of Nick. I got to thinking of what a wagon wheel means outside of that and why we chose a wagon wheel to be the "thing" in our marriage. When I think of a wagon wheel, I think of a wagon.  I think of Pioneers. I think of the load that a wagon wheel carries across the country. I think of the miles they went and the tremendous amount of strength it took for those wheels to just keep turning until they reached their final destination. I think of the oxen that pulled those wheels along even when the wheels got stuck in the mud. The oxen did everything they could to pull the wheels out of the mud or snow, because the load they were carrying was just too much to handle at times.  Without the oxen, those wheels are almost impossible to turn. The wagon wheel is Nick and I. We carry these huge loads of blessings and trials. The ox is our Savior. He pulls us along and when we get stuck in the mud he does everything he can to get us out. Sometimes a wagon wheel breaks and it needs to be repaired, but that is ok! As long as we carry that precious cargo to our final destination then nothing else matters. I think about this analogy in my head every day, how we are these wagon wheels and we are carrying such heavy loads. We carry them through happy and blissful times and we carry them through stormy and hectic times. Without the ox, our Savior, we cannot get very far. This is why Nick and I chose a wagon wheel, and didn't even know it, we just liked the song! Little did we know what it would mean one day.
I was walking around Hobby Lobby one way and saw this wagon wheel, of course I had to get it. Now it sits above my stairs and I see it every day and what it means. It is reminder of the blessings and trials I carry with me every day. How I must keep going further and let my Savior pull me out of the mud when my load is just too heavy on my own.  Each wheel has spindles, each of those spindles, represent something that keeps me together and gives me support. My family, the gospel, prayer, the power of the priesthood ect... I can go on and on with analogies pertaining to a wheel, specifically a wagon wheel but this is something that is personal and it spiritually uplifts me every day.  Thinking about the little things Nick and I did, singing at the top of our lungs to "Wagon Wheel" and what it really means to us now.

Through the trials of life and when we get stuck in the mud, let the Savior pull us out. Our Heavenly Father was once a wagon wheel too, and has felt what it is like to carry such heavy burdens. Someday we can all be like an Ox pulling others out of the mud or maybe we are even somebody's spindle that gives them strength as they turn through life.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Mother's Day To Never Forget: Meeting The Man Who Has My Husband's Heart.

"In our deepest moments of struggle, frustration, fear, and confusion, we are being called upon to reach in and touch our hearts.  Then, we will know what to do, what to say, how to be. What is right is always in our deepest heart of hearts.  It is from the deepest part of our hearts that we are capable of reaching out and touching another human being.  It is, after all, one heart touching another heart."-Roberta Sage Hamilton
This past mothers was one of the most unexpected spiritual days of my life. I know that you all heard about it, but it would be weird if I went on with my blog without talking about it. It went a little something like this....

  I woke up and went to church, it was the first time I decided to go to church by myself since Nick passed away.  Thank goodness I sat next to a friend of mine.  I decided to leave after sacrament meeting because it was starting to become more difficult as the day went on. I drove home and Hannah and I just took a nap in bed. A few hours go by and my phone rings, it was my Aunt Jill. She asked me what I was doing.  I told her that I was laying down with Hannah. My Aunt Jill calls me all the time just to see how I am doing, so I didn't think anything of it. She immediately started off  with "Caroline I know who has Nick's heart." I of course woke right up, because I had no idea what she was talking about, how could she know that? I knew that Nick's heart went to man who had five children but that is all the information I knew about him.  I  knew that I could always get more information and get in contact with him if I wanted to down the road. I said back to her "What do you mean?" She later explained that a family friend of ours was at some dinner when another man was talking about this heart transplant that he had just recently received six months ago. He said that he knew he was a BYU football player but wasn't allowed to contact the family until the six month mark. Our family friend walked up to him and said something along the lines of "I think I know who's heart you have! Nick Longshore.  His family lives here in Utah, would you like to meet them?" He of course said yes, that is if I wanted too. Now I know that there were a few other people involved and some other factors as to how that went, but that is the simple version of it.
  As I was on the phone with my Aunt Jill listening to this story, I was literally just freaking out.  I could not believe it.  His description did match the little bit of info I was given as well. I told my Aunt Jill that I would call her back and let her know if I wanted to meet him.  I was suppose to go to her house anyways for a mothers day dinner and she said that he was going to come if I wanted him too.  My aunt Jill later told me to YouTube "Ken Gardner Heart"

   So I did. I clicked on the video, and there he was. Ken Gardner talking about his heart transplant.  I immediately started crying. This man talking about MY family and MY husband and his heart. All I wanted was for Nick's heart was to go to someone who was grateful and then here is this man talking about how strong this heart was.  I knew that, that was the man who had Nick's heart.
  After I hung up the phone I called my Dad.  I asked him what I should do.  Was it to soon to meet him? I didn't know if I was emotionally ready.  My dad told me that he thought that I should do it, that it was Nick's way of giving me a mothers day gift. So I called my Aunt back and told her that I would like to meet him.  I then started calling everyone and I called Nick's mom and she was pretty surprised too that this was going to happen.
  I then started to get ready and I was just shaking.  I was so nervous, this kind of stuff doesn't happen everyday, let alone on Mother's Day. I was so excited that Nick was trying to give me something.  He was letting me know that he was aware that it was Mother's Day and that he was thinking about me. Well he did a pretty darn good job, and the message was loud and clear. When I got to my Aunt's house, I just sat on the couch with my sister and waited.  I was just talking to Nick in my head the entire time. I was thanking him for thinking about me and not forgetting that today was mothers day. I was also thinking about how crazy my life is, how close to veil I am, and how lucky I am to have the most amazing husband in the world. He literally has changed my life in so many ways.  He is so close to me, and continues to be my best friend. I would do anything for him and I know he would do anything for me...clearly.
  As time went on, eventually there was a knock on the door.  I went and hid by my aunt by the wall, I was so nervous.  I heard my uncle answer the door and a then a group of people walk in.  Now it was just a matter of stepping away from behind my aunt and walking out there.  I walked out there and stood there with my hands over my face crying.  My own heart started to pound.  I didn't know what to say.  This is the moment that Nick wanted to give me.  I walked towards him and I couldn't believe how big he was.  Just like Nick.  I walked over to him and he started to cry.  As I reached up to give him a hug, I had to get on my tip toes just like I would with Nick.  He said "Now feel that beat."  I put my ear up to his chest and I just couldn't believe this was happening. I haven't heard that beat in six months.  I would lay on Nicks chest all the time when we would watch movies or just lay down together and I could always hear his heartbeat. Now to hear it again was an experience I will never forget.  Just to look at this man and know what he has of Nick's is very surreal.  No one can even imagine what it is like unless you have been in my shoes.

As Ken and his daughter Taylor came into the house we sat and talked for hours.  I learned that Ken is a HUGE U of U fan, which is hilarious because Nick played football at BYU.  Ken played basketball at the University of Utah back in the day.  We know joke around that Ken bleeds blue. I guess that's what you get for being a U of U fan. :P His daughter Taylor was there when we met.  She is a sweetheart. Before when her dad was dying, she told her bishop that she couldn't go on a mission because her dad was about to pass away, well when he got his heart transplant and everything went well, she put in her mission papers and she is now serving a mission in Russia.
I learned that Ken was very sick.  He wasn't given much longer to live. His transplant was on November 22, 2013.  Just two days after Nick passed. Ken has a firecracker of a personality. He has been nothing but grateful. He cried when he saw Hannah, and held her tight up to his chest. I do want Ken and my family to have a relationship.  I want Hannah to know what her Dad gave someone else. Oh the stories I will have to tell her as she grows up. We eventually got in touch with donor services just to confirm that this was the right match, and it was.

People ask me all the time if I still cry myself to sleep at night or if it has gotten easier.  Honestly, yes I have my moments, are yes they are very frequent.  I can be a room FULL of people and no one has a clue that I am just crying inside or thinking about Nick.  I can be having a conversation with someone but all I am thinking about is...Nick.  Sometimes I can just see a picture of Nick and it is like he is literally standing right in front of me, and all of these memories just starting coming from no where. 
This past month I have learned a few different things...
1. Nick is always around but whenever I go visit him and Colton at the cemetery, I swear I can hear Nick grabbing Colton telling him to come quick because Mom is coming to visit. I swear I can hear excitement from the two of them that I am there, ready for family prayer.
2. I rely on my patriarchal blessing more than I thought. I replay lines from my blessing throughout the day.  Whenever I have a negative thought or feeling, a line from my blessing will pop right back in my head afterwards.
3. I was in St. George just recently, and I was sitting with my grandpa on the couch.  It was just the two of us in the room and he looked at me and said "Caroline, we are in the same boat." I can't even tell you the amount of angels that were in the room with us that day.  Both of our spouses were there. My grandma and my husband. I can't help but think that my Grandma later looked at Nick and said..."Nick, you and I are in the same boat." 
 As I am sitting here writing this, it still just gives me goosebumps.  I miss Nick so much I can't even tell you.  I miss the way things were.  But I understand that I am one very lucky girl.  I have something that no one else has. My Heavenly Father has some crazy plan for me. He has been working on it from the beginning and it is all just starting to unravel.  I just hope and pray that from here on out that it will be easier.  My heart can't handle anything else. I believe that Nick was trying to give me hug that day, and this was the best way he could think of.  The experiences that I have been given are for a reason. Heavenly Father hand picks our trials because he knows us inside and out. He will never just give you a trial just for the heck of it.  We mean too much to him. Each trial is for a purpose and was specifically designed for you because we are each so unique. Whenever you think you cannot handle something, just remember that this EXACT situation is meant for you which means you are the ONLY one who can get through it but you can do it with help. He would never create an experience that we couldn't pull through and rise to the top. He has more faith in us than we think.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Six Months, A Train and Hannah's Blessing.

  “Your secret yearnings and tearful pleadings will touch the heart of both the Father and the Son. You will be given a personal assurance from Them that your life will be full and that no blessing that is essential will be lost to you.”-Boyd K. Packer

  Now that life is settling down, reality is sinking in. It is coming on six months since Nick died. That is a REALLY long time, but it feels like yesterday since everything happened.  I have been struggling with a few different things lately now that Hannah is here.  When you lose a child you become friends with so many other people who have been through what you have been through.  Before Colton, I had no idea that losing a child was so common as it is. So many people go through it but you just don't see it until you are thrown into the mix of it all.  Well now that Hannah is here, and the fact that I still see so many families go through the loss of a child and also experiencing it myself, I just worry that something will happen to Hannah.  Honestly it is all I know, I feel like that is just what is suppose to happen and it's NOT suppose to happen and it scares me to death.  Every night before bed,  I always look at Hannah as if it were the last time. 
  Hannah was REALLY sick these past few days, she has RSV.  We were in the hospital for three days, and all I kept thinking was is this the moment that Heavenly Father is going to take Hannah back? I sat there with her in the hospital and yelled at Heavenly Father and talked to Nick.  I begged Nick not to let Heavenly Father take her and I begged him to heal her.  I couldn't help but feel so helpless. After I begged Nick to heal her, just ten minutes later Hannah began to show signs of improvement.  Then I realized that I need to have a little more faith in Nick and Heavenly Father and to not get so mad so quickly.  Hannah will get sick and hurt, she will experience pain and go through difficult times, I need to learn that just because she is going through something doesn't mean that Heavenly Father is going to take her from me.  It is just part of life to have trials and I need to understand that she isn't immune from it, and that she will be ok.  

  Night times are the worst and the silliest things will just push me to the edge. There is this train a few miles from my house, and every night around 10pm it comes down and blows it's horn...several times.  For some reason that train makes me so incredibly sad.  I cry every time I hear it go by.  It really is the weirdest thing. I lay in bed and wonder why of all the things that make me cry, this train is the one that does it. I have realized that the reason why I cry when the this train goes by is because it reminds me that life and the world itself is still going on.  I actually get mad at it because I think, doesn't this train (the world) know what has happened? Doesn't it know what I have lost and yet it continues to go on like nothing happened! It makes me so upset, I feel like because my world came to a screeching halt, so should this train and the rest of the world...when in reality it won't.
Hannah's blessing was this past weekend. When they called up all the men to go bless her and when I handed her to Ben, I did not expect to lose it. To see all of the men in Hannah's life gather around her made me so grateful but I missed Nick more than ever.  I kept my eyes closed and just imagined Nick standing there in his suit and tie. Ben (Nick's brother) gave an amazing blessing. It is exactly what Nick would have said.  When Colton died, Nick gave Colton a blessing when we were in the hospital. Even though he was already gone, he gave him a blessing to bless him during the time that he was in heaven and away from his family.  Flashbacks of that blessing kept creeping into my mind when Hannah was being blessed. I have always dreaded baby blessings, it is my own personal struggle that will just take time, so to actually have a baby blessing for Hannah was a mixture of feelings and emotions.  Ben mentioned in her blessing that she will be a beacon and a ray of sunshine to those around her. She has been that from before she was even born. She has a lot placed on her shoulders already but she isn't given anything that she cannot handle.


It is May, which means it is the six month mark since Nick passed away. I really really miss him. I still feel like I walk around with a sign on my head that says "I miss him and life is hard" I don't know what stage of grief I am in anymore.  Some days I am beyond angry and other days I am sad.  I often think about Nick and Colton being missionary companions, standing side by side looking just like each other, and teaching the plan of salvation to those who are not born yet and to those who have already lived their lives...oh the stories they could tell about families and eternal life.

 Something that I think about often and it is something that I also struggle with;  I often think about the Celestial Kingdom and who will all be there and how to get there. What I guess I am trying to say is how is it fair that those who go through harder trials, and those who don't go through as hard of trials, get to go to the same place?  Lots of people don't lose a spouse or child and yet they still get to go to the same place as I do. Now I understand that you don't have to lose someone to know what trials are, they're are so many different trials and none of them are easy, but there isn't anything like losing spouse, I also understand that to certain people whatever they are experiencing is the worst thing that could happen to them but how come I have to lose my family to get to the Celestial Kingdom, when others don't?

On another note, the other day I woke up and my first thought was  of Nick as usual, but this time I didn't think Nick/Accident, I just thought of Nick. Because of what happened, whenever I thought of Nick I always associated Nick with his accident but the other day I thought of Nick and I didn't even think about the accident, I thought about how much I missed him and I thought about good memories. It is weird how you notice those things, it was a relief to remember my husband the way I have always thought about him and not about a horrible accident that happened to him because that doesn't define him.  I feel like that is progress in the grieving stage when you don't think about what happened but rather what you had and still do have. Don't get me wrong everyday I think, what happened to my life and Nick's life, but it was nice just for a second to think about my husband and not an accident.
I was reading through my old posts, and came across this, I am not sure if any of you have noticed this but this is what I wrote before Nick died, I was writing about Colton's birthday coming up and how I felt like something was going to happen the day of his birthday.  This is what I wrote....

"I have my journal typed up on my computer; half of it I have put in a book online, I am hoping by next year I will be done.  I took a break from it for awhile, and the other day I was reading it and I couldn't believe some of the stuff I had forgotten. While I was reading, I said to myself "I am SO glad I wrote this down!"  I have this feeling that someone close to me or in my own family will have to go through what I did! I don't know who and it could be 20 years from now, but I have it for that person to read one day BUT then I got to thinking, wait a minute, what IF it is meant for ME AGAIN.  What if it is me who will lose another and I have to read this book during that time. That thought has haunted my brain for days now.  I can't even handle the thought so I keep trying to put it out of my mind."

 I wrote that nine days before Nick's accident.  I had this feeling for awhile and I believe it was my Heavenly Father trying to tell me something, I am now am terrified that whenever I think that something bad is going to happen, that it actually will. I get afraid that it is Heavenly Father trying to get through to me.   

Life has it's up and it most certainly has it's downs, but because what my family has been through, I know I can do anything I want in life and NOTHING is harder than what I have already done.  Whenever I get stressed about something, I just think that this is a breeze compared to what I have seen and done.  I may walk through life on my tip toes for awhile, always paranoid or preparing for the worst to happen, and I may not be this chill relaxed person because I am so scared of what might happen but I will say that I am one very blessed person and I have a lot of be thankful for. I have a lot to look forward too in this life and ESPECIALLY in the next.  Is it weird that I literally want to jump up and down when I think about the resurrection?   I have been blessed to have the Holy Ghost as my constant companion these last six months, I know when I see my Savior again I will thank him for letting me feel His love through all of this.  I will thank him for not abandoning me.  I will thank him for letting the veil be so thin so that I can still have a relationship with Nick on a daily basis.  I will thank him for allowing Nick to have Colton with him so that Nick has one of his children with him, even if it means that I don't get to have my son right now.  I want Nick to be happy and he deserves to have his son.

“Our challenges, including those we create by our own decisions, are part of our test in mortality. Let me assure you that your situation is not beyond the reach of our Savior. Through Him, every struggle can be for our experience and our good.”-Robert D. Hales

Top 5 favorite memories with Nick:
1. When we went to the batting cages and arcade. I pretty much broke my thumb when batting but I miss just hanging out and going on dates with Nick.  Nick and I would just walk around the arcade and play games, and eat junk food.
2.Texas Roadhouse. If you know anything about Nick and I, it's that we loved eating at Texas Roadhouse. We would go like 3 nights a week when we were first married.
 3. Carving Pumpkins.  We loved going for a hay ride right before Halloween and carving pumpkins. Nick was pretty much the bomb at it.
 4. I loved how happy Nick was when he was coaching football. Friday night games may be stressful when your husband is the head coach, but he loved it so much.
 5. Easter of 2013.  Easter was a time of healing for Nick and I, it was right after we lost Colton, but we had a blast. Hanging out in California on the beach, just being around each other is just what we needed.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Here Comes The Sun: Hannah Nicholas Wells-Longshore

“Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come.”- Jeffrey R. Holland 

I can't believe she is here! I cannot believe I have a daughter....this last week has been a whole new experience.  So many ups and downs, but mostly ups.  Hannah Nicholas Wells-Longshore was born on April 5, 2014 at 5:06am.  She is my angel, and has saved me; hopefully someday I can help her just as much as she has helped me.

I went into labor completely on my own. TOTALLY didn't see that coming. I think that Nick asked Heavenly Father if he could plan this whole situation out, the way Nick thought that I would want it the most.  I can totally see him planning how all of this went down.  I didn't want to go into labor on my own at all, frankly I am tired of surprises and being caught of guard, but NOW I am super happy with how everything went.  Nick and Heavenly Father knew what I needed and what would make me happy even if I thought otherwise, funny how that goes... She came within two hours of arriving to the hospital.  She was so quick.  My mom drove me to the hospital and she was so excited, me on the other hand was stressed, well until I got my epidural. I called my sister Lauren and she came right away. I called my Aunt Julia and she answered the phone and said "Oh My Gosh!" she knew exactly what it was, maybe because it was two in the morning! By that time, I knew the word was out, eventually my room was filled with my family.

My doctor was on call, and when we got to the hospital he looked like he had just woken up and I could tell he was so excited for me.  I am really going to miss my doctor, he has been through a lot with Nick and I.  He delivered Colton and gave me a priesthood blessing just after everything happened with Colton. I will never forget all the visits Nick and I had with him.  He has truly been a heaven sent and just the doctor that I needed to deliver my children.
Living in Utah is a huge blessing because most people are of my faith, and to have my doctor be a bishop and understand what I already know about families is a huge blessing.

As time progressed I went from four centimeters to a full on ten in just two hours. There were so many little miracles. I will first start off with the fact that I got to have an epidural. There is NO way I could have done this without one. I was already emotionally drained and I didn't need any physical pain to add to that. But because I am on blood thinners, the doctors told me from the beginning that if I went into labor on my own that I would most likely not get to have an epidural. I have to take Heparin shots twice a day, and for some reason that day, I decided to skip both of them. My mom asked me that morning if I had taken them and I said I would, but for some reason I never did, and I NEVER forget.  Because I didn't take any of my medicine that day, I got to have an epidural which literally made this a ton easier. I know Nick had a hand in that one.

When I got to the hospital I debated if I should call my friend Terra Cooper, she is a photographer.  I met her from when I gave birth to Colton.  At the time she volunteered for a company that provided pictures for families who have lost children.  I remember when I first met her, she walked into my hospital room and she was very happy and I could see the willingness in her to serve.  She took the most beautiful pictures of my son. Well anyway, we have stayed in touch since then, and she offered to do Hannah's pictures.  I had just talked to her earlier that day about how it was going to happen that following Monday for my induction, neither of us knew that I would go into labor on my own just a few hours later. It was 2:30am and I debated on calling her or not! It was so early and I knew she was asleep, eventually Lauren called her for me, because she knew that this was important. Before I knew it, Terra made it JUST in time.  Because of her I have the most beautiful pictures. Terra has been there for me during the good times and the really really bad.  Hopefully someday I can repay her for all that she given Nick and I.

I had always planned that it would just be a few people in the room, but my room was filled with family, and I loved it and wouldn't change it for anything.  I realized that this experience wasn't just for me but it was to be shared.  When I first got to the hospital, the nurses started to pile in. The first nurse that came in introduced herself as Vickie.  I looked up at her and I gasped and grabbed her arm and said "Oh my, I know you! You delivered my son!" She looked at me and it took a minute for both of us to completely remember. She looked up the date from over a year ago; November 13, 2012 and yes it was her.  She handed me my son for the first time and helped me deliver him.  With Colton it was just my doctor, Nick and her in the room, so I would know her face anywhere.  We were SO shocked that she was now here, delivering my daughter and especially so early in the morning! What are the chances that she would have the same exact shift, it wasn't by chance, and it's not by chance I have both pictures of her handing me my children.

This experience has been the most anticipated experience of my life.  She came out, I just couldn't believe it, I couldn't believe Nick was not physically there. I was in shock a little on how all of this has come to be, and how my life has turned out.  I really missed my husband when she came out, but I was SO happy to hear little Hannah crying.  I have always thought besides that being born is probably a little uncomfortable for the baby but babies that come out crying are crying because there is a part of them that doesn't want to leave paradise, that she was going to miss her dad.  As time slowed down that first night really threw me off.  I was so paranoid that something was going to happen to her, I couldn't turn the light off, I had to see that she was breathing. Eventually after a few hours I did fall asleep. We turned the light on dim and my mom slept on the pull out bed across the room. As I finally fell asleep which felt like a super deep sleep but at the same time I would jump up if  Hannah made any kind of noise. But as I was sleeping I was laying on my left side and all of a sudden I jumped up and gasped real loud and actually woke my mom up, she asked what was wrong, I told her that someone had just rubbed my back.  I felt Nick lay down behind me in my hospital bed.  It felt like he was pressed up against my back, just like as if we were at home sleeping. It wasn't just like a hand on my shoulder, I could feel his entire body pressed up against me.  It was the most tender and spiritual experience.  He was letting me know that he was there with Hannah and I on our first night together.
 The veil is so incredibly thin, and the only way I can live with this life I have been given, is if it stays that way.  If there is one thing that I wish for Hannah it's that she has some sort of memory of her Dad.  I don't know anyone who has an actual memory of the pre-existence but if I had one wish, it would be that she had a memory of him and her together.  Now when I saw Hannah for the first time, it wasn't like I was meeting someone, I honestly felt like I have known her for years, and I know that sounds SO cliché but we both look at each other and it's like we have been reunited. Like we are in this together.  When I was pregnant with Colton, I would have dreams about a little girl.  I remember thinking that was a little odd because I knew I was pregnant with a boy.  I remember in my dream that it was just me laying in my bed and a little blond curly haired girl was sitting up by my legs just staring and smiling at me while she was sucking on her hand.
The drive home from the hospital was very surreal.  My mind was torn between starring at Hannah and thinking about the last time I drove home from the hospital after having a baby.  I cried the entire way home with Colton and so did Nick. I remember holding a vase on flowers in my lap that I literally wanted to throw out the window.  And this time I was in shock and a little numb.  I was happy but so sad. People always imagine that when they leave the hospital with a baby that it is with their spouse. 
“Be assured that there is a safe harbor. You can find peace amidst the storms that threaten you. Your Heavenly Father—who knows when even a sparrow falls—knows of your heartache and suffering. He loves you and wants the best for you. Never doubt this. While He allows all of us to make choices that may not always be for our own or even others’ well-being, and while He does not always intervene in the course of events, He has promised the faithful peace even in their trials and tribulations.” -Joseph B. Wirthlin 
Hannah has Nick's eyes.  Hannah has Nick's calmness.  Now she is only three weeks old but she is as calm as a cucumber.  Never fusses nor complains. Hannah has mine and Colton's nose. Hannah has Nick's platinum blond hair and white eyelashes.  Hannah has Nick's legs. Hannah has my chin.  Hannah has Nick's fair skin.

A woman named Carrie Ryan took Hannah's newborn photo's.  I briefly met Carrie when I lost Colton, neither of us really remembered but she was there with Terra helping take his photo's.  She heard about what had happened to Nick and she offered to take Hannah's newborn photo's.  Just like Colton, Carrie also lost a son. She understands the pain and heartache that mothers go through. I am so grateful for the people who have been put into my life because of my beautiful son and daughter. 


I guess I just really want to bare my testimony on making the best of situations that are handed to you. Now one thing that bothers me is overly positive people, because we all know that life hands you lemons but at the same time, I am just grateful for the knowledge that I know about the Plan of Salvation and because of that, I can try my hardest to live a normal life. Life isn't always what you make it, you can't just control life the way you want, but what you can control is how you handle life.   I was sitting on the couch the other day with my mom and mother in law and I was holding Hannah, and I looked around and just for a second my heart didn’t ache so badly.  Choices start with recognizing those small moments of bliss and happiness, and then we can decide if that is what we want and how to get those moments back into our lives.  It isn’t as easy as it sounds though; it takes time and a willingness to understand the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Happiness takes work, a lot of work, but Heavenly Father would never make it impossible he wants it so badly for us.  Choices start with prayer and a communication with those you cannot see, but feel.  Then making choices aren’t so hard anymore and being happy isn’t a chore, it will come and you will understand His master plan that He has for you.
Now that my sweet girl is here, life can finally slow down if it wants.  Some days I wish I was an old woman who was ready to pass through the veil, and other days I just want to enjoy Hannah and go through life with her. Heavenly Father has taken so much away from me, but he has also given me so much.  I don't sit at home alone anymore and I don't go to bed alone anymore...Hannah you are my entire life, I am literally alive because of you. I love you and thank Heavenly Father and Nick for giving you to me. Hopefully someday when you are an adult you will read my blog and realize how much I love you and what you mean to me.  You are my best friend.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Patience and Persistence

 "Patience—the ability to put our desires on hold for a time—is a precious and rare virtue. We want what we want, and we want it now. Therefore, the very idea of patience may seem unpleasant and, at times, bitter.
Nevertheless, without patience, we cannot please God; we cannot become perfect. Indeed, patience is a purifying process that refines understanding, deepens happiness, focuses action, and offers hope for peace." -Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I was sitting in church the other day and it was fast Sunday; I was in my sister's ward up in Idaho Falls.  The entire time I kept feeling like I should bare my testimony....but I didn't.  I kept feeling Nick nudge my knee to go up there, just like he did EVERY fast Sunday, just to make me uncomfortable and to make me blush. It's been about a month since I have written on my blog, and I struggled to figure out something to write, when the thought came to me "Write what you wanted to say on fast Sunday" So here I am writing what I wished I had said in church.

I really wanted to bare my testimony on being Patient and on being Persistent. Both of those words hit home and they are both completely different in meaning. When I got married I was a VERY impatient person, all I wanted was for things to happen NOW. I think it just comes with my generation to be honest.  Nick on the other hand is the complete opposite, he is the most patient person I know. He understood the meaning of good things happen to those who wait.  When I was being impatient Nick would literally pull out his phone and read me the Webster's dictionary meaning of patience, he did that because he was trying to be funny and get on my last nerve! I now look back and every time I am being impatient I see Nick and I sitting on our bed and him reading to me out loud the meaning of patience. It is one of those memories that I will never forget.  I think that is why I married someone older than me, I had a lot to learn and Nick was patient and persistent enough to teach me.

 The first time I remember just going completely nuts because I was being impatient was when we were trying to conceive our first child, Colton.  It took us 7 months.  Now I understand that really isn't that long at all, but the point is, I wanted it right then and now.  Finally we conceived Colton, and then 9 long months go by; so that makes a total of 16 months I had to wait. For someone who wanted something so badly and someone who didn't understand the meaning of patience, that felt like a lifetime.  Well then, just one week before my induction date, Colton passed away.... I still got my son, don't get wrong, but he was wasn't here anymore. I had waited for forever and he was taken away from me last minute. If that doesn't test your patience then I don't know what does.

  After our son passed we knew right away that we were going to try for a second baby. That took us 10 long months and now I am 9 months pregnant. So another grand total of 19 months of waiting and learning the true meaning of patience. Then to make things just a million times more difficult, I have to wait an entire life time to see my Nick again.... is it really to much to ask for just to see my family, or even just one member of my family?  When I think of patience I think of Nick, Colton and our daughter on the way, I think of Nick reading out loud to me the meaning of patience.  I have truly learned the meaning of patience, and it's not something that will I learn just a couple of times, I have to be patient for the REST of my life until I get to see Nick again.

  I guess this is where I have learned the meaning of being persistent. The Lord wants to see how you will handle situations when he tests your patience.  I have been tested to max but I am still persistent on obtaining my worthy goals. I have not given up on this dream of having my family back. Every morning when I wake up; that is a sign of being persistent.  Every time I actually get dressed for the day, I like to think that I am being persistent and every time I go in for my weekly doctor's appointment, that is me being persistent.  Although my patience has been truly tested , my persistence will never hold me back from obtaining what I want in life.  Heavenly Father wants us to be persistent in worthy causes even if our patience has run dry.  There are a lot things that I want and I want them now, but I can't and I have no control over it, but having that memory of Nick reading out loud to me the meaning of patience is priceless. It's on replay in my head all day long. Being patient and being persistent is really hard to do, and emotionally draining.  When everything has been taken away from you, it is easy to think "I'm done, I have had enough." Just remember that those words are not from our Heavenly Father. When you have waited for something for so long, and then it is gone, being persistent about doing the right thing anyway, is a lifetime lesson. When you hear the words "Keep going, it will get better" you will know exactly where those words are coming from. When you think the words "I was so good, how could you do this to me again?" remember to stay persistent, even if you feel like you are being led in the dark.  

I have so much to learn but lately all I think about and dream about is seeing Nick again and he will tell me "Thank you for being patient and thank you for being persistent." 

I once heard that patience isn't about just waiting for a long time, it's about your attitude while you wait.  This is true.  I don't know if my attitude is where is should be quite yet, but I have a long time to work on it. 

Things that I miss about Nick
1. Nick would pretend to close his eyes to make it look like he was sleeping while we was driving, just to scare me!
2. Nick made the best omelets! He would make an omelet almost every Sunday before church.
3. Nick has a million t-shirts.  In every sport team and logo you can think of. And now most of them are covered in paint. :)
4. Nick and I emailed each other all the time while he was at work.  We were always figuring out ways to talk to each other.  Here is our last email to each other, just 4 days before his accident.
   From Nick:                                                                                                                         
 "Hi honey. How's your day today. You sure did look cute this morning and it was funny how excited you were to tell me that you just had 4 slices of cheesecake in your dream. I miss you and hope you are having a great day. Love you"
From Caroline:                                                                                                                                  
"You are seriously soooo cute! I love you so much Nick!

Definitely a pregnancy dream that I had last night. Lots of cheesecake. It was ahhhmazzing."

5. For Christmas one year, Nick picked out a dress for me, now I assume that most husbands don't even try to buy there wives clothes, but Nick saw me looking at a dress one time while we were shopping, so he went back and got it for me. I wear it all the time.

"The lessons we learn from patience will cultivate our character, lift our lives, and heighten our happiness." -Dieter F. Uchtdorf