Bless the Broken Road

 

Laney and her grandpa

I had always heard the saying that each trial we go through makes us stronger. And better able to handle the next one. As a teenager, I wondered why life was so hard. (I went to four high schools in 3 years.)

My mom was raised in an orphanage. My dad joined the Air Force at the age of 17. They were married young. They had 11 kids before they divorced when I was 12. My dad had two more kids, making a total of 13.Where do I fall, you are wondering? I am number 8.   (And just to be fair, my husband has 11 in his family, too).

Life was hard in a lot of ways. Each trial we were called upon to bear, the easier the last one seemed. During a particularly difficult time when Wade was dealing with some health issues, my sister-in-law gave me some advice I have never forgotten. She said that maybe I had to go through all of the trials in my young life so that I could handle what I was going through at the time. Amazing thought.

So, in February of 2010, when I started taking care of my dad,  I realized how grateful I was for the upbringing I had. I am so grateful and truly blessed for every trial and experience I have been through in my life. That broken road has been a blessing in my life and has led me to where I am now. My dad had Alzheimer’s. All of my previous trials allowed me to be strong for my dad when he needed me most, until he died in November, 2010 at the age of 73.

I continue to be amazed at how blessed I am. How every time something hard comes up, I just think, “Ok, we can get through this.” It isn’t a question of, “Why?” anymore, but rather, “What am I supposed to learn from this?”

Wade the book Ye are the Light of The World last night when he read to me a quote by Harold B Lee. He says, “Death of a loved one is the most severe test that you will ever face, and if you can rise above your griefs and if you will trust in God, then you will be able to surmount any other difficulty with which you may be faced.” If that is the toughest thing I have to face, I am ready for anything.

~CTR

Angels to Bear You Up

 

Since Laney’s accident, we have seen so many blessings. We have been blessed  by all of the prayers on behalf of my family, which I am sure amounts to thousands. We literally feel as though we have been upheld by those prayers. I believe that angels have been sent to bear us up. Even now. They are those around us who continue to uplift and support us. They remember that we are here and that we need them.

One of those angels is a close family member. She remembers us every day. She teaches her young sons to pray for us. She has helped me when I didn’t know I needed help, and even when I did. She loves to help others, and I am sure that she is receiving blessings for the support and love she has given to our family.

More angels were sent to bear us up in the family we have only come to know better through our loss. It was only a matter of time that we would be getting to know them, but not in this unexpected way. They have done so many things for us. Always remembering us on the rough days, and knowing when we need them. For me, it is even more amazing that they are always thinking of Laney. After all, she was going to be a part of their family, too.  

There are many more angels who bear us up. More than we even know. More than we can possibly thank. But to those of you who are our angels, we offer our gratitude and love. You are our heroes. And part of the reason we have hope to face tomorrow.

~CTR

Finding a Note Brings Peace

I have been thinking a lot about what I wish I had said to Laney. What I wish I had done differently. They say that hindsight is 20/20, right? In looking back, we can always see more clearly the decisions we should have made.

I mentioned in this post that I loved to leave her notes on her favorite candy and put it in her car when she came home from college. Or hide it in her luggage so she would find it when she got home. I actually laugh at how corny she probably thought I was. Then her friend Kyli told me that she actually kept all of the notes. I have been trying to get up the courage to look for them.

So, on Valentines day, I was thinking about one note in particular that I had written a long time ago. It, too,  had been stuck to some sort of her favorite candy. The part of the note I was thinking about had something to do with the Stripling Warriors and how they had been taught by their mothers, and that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them (Alma 56:47-48). Because the Stripling Warriors were heading into battle, I equated it to her going off to college (Corny, I know). I just couldn’t remember exactly what I had written.

I was still thinking about it the next day when I went into Laney’s room for something. Laney was very sentimental. She kept a lot of things. Like all of the bottle caps she collected in the 5th grade. She even kept the backpack that she used that year.  She kept the bottle caps in it. So, I decided to take a few minutes and see if I could find the notes that I had written her. I wasn’t prepared to look through her entire room. I don’t think I could have handled that this week. But I knew where she kept a few papers.

Laney playing softball in the 5th grade

The very last thing in the stack of papers was the exact note that I had been thinking about. She had kept it. But the thing that is amazing to me was the rest of what I wrote.  I will admit that I have been thinking a lot lately about how much I miss her and love her, and how much I wish I would have made sure she knew it. I have also been thinking about what it is I would say to her when I see her again.

So I wasn’t prepared for what I read in the note I had written to her. Every single thing I had been worrying about. Every single thing I had been thinking about. Every single thing I have been wishing I could tell her…was written in that letter. Every single thing.

I believe everything happens for a reason. I don’t believe in coincidence. I know that Heavenly Father knows me and wants to bless me. What a tender mercy it was for me to find that letter when I did. It has brought me peace. I read it every day. I now know that what I had wished so badly I could tell her…I already had. She knew. She knows now.

I am so glad that I wrote her those corny notes. I am so glad that I had such an amazing daughter. That she kept everything. Because finding that note has given me the strength to make it another day. And then another.

~CTR