This weekend, Laney would have turned 21. On the 21st. So as I have been thinking about her short life, and her arrival, I can’t help but smile. You see, Laney shouldn’t have made it. But she did. And instead of having her for just a few hours or days, we got to have her for 20 years. 20 years that were amazing.
I wanted to share a few things about Laney that you may not know. She thought that birds shouldn’t walk because they had wings for a reason. She loved grammar, and if you didn’t use it correctly, she let you know. She disliked caramel, barbecue sauce, and hot fruit (cobblers, etc.). She loved sports from a very young age. She loved to go to the desert, and she loved to clog. She loved the movie Contact. She loved everything to do with space. She loved Garth Brooks and Steve Tyler. And the Green Bay Packers.
She loved Hershey’s chocolate bars. She would often wake up in the morning when she was younger and the first thing she would say was, ” I need chocolate!” She also loved to help me with my DIY projects. When she was 9, she helped me paint our entire house. Just the two of us. She was so creative, that she often came up with her own projects along with helping me with mine.
But one of my favorite memories is one we laughed about just a few weeks before her accident. She always watched her feet when she ran down the basketball court. We were reminiscing about that, and she burst out laughing at the fact that she STILL did. She never stopped watching her feet when she ran.
While taking this week to especially remember Laney, I want to point out that she didn’t just have things that she liked. But she had things that she loved. She loved going to the temple. She loved Jens. Loves him still. She loved that she was going to marry him. She loved hanging out with her friends. She loved writing in her journal. She loved helping others. She loved to encourage them. She showed that in everything she did. So this week, I am concentrating on the things Laney loved. And maybe in the process it will make things a little easier.
From the time when Laney was about 15 years old, she wanted to be an organ donor. In fact, she had a life goal to donate a kidney. And she was completely serious. She reminded me all the time that she wanted to be an organ donor. So last June, I told her about a cousin that was in dire need of a kidney transplant. What she said to me was, “Ok. Let’s make it happen mom!” But the doctors didn’t want someone who was so young and hadn’t had her own family yet to donate. She would have to wait.
Laney did get her wish to be an organ donor, but not in the way she thought it would happen. Even though we knew what she wanted, making that decision on such short notice and without really having time to process losing her, was one of the hardest things I have ever done. We are okay with it, though. We think it is pretty amazing actually. To think that not only her legacy of temple work, missionaries, and her testimony living on and helping others, but she is as well. And it is just like her.
When unexpected things arise, they tend to catch me off guard. Like the day I came home from work to find a letter from the Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah. I wasn’t thinking much about it because we get mail from the University of Utah regularly. When I opened the letter, though, it took my breath away. It said that because of Laney’s gift and our decision for her to be a donor, two people who were blind can now see. How incredible is that? But it wasn’t really our decision to make. It was Laney’s. And she made it years ago. And we are so incredibly proud of her.
The 13th of every month is especially hard for us. Today is definitely one of those days when I have to tell myself that I can do it. I can make it through today. But today, I am also wondering how in the world I have made it this long and kept myself together. And then I remember, that it is because I have put my trust in Him. And I know I can keep going.
I miss Laney terribly. I love her just as much. I see her in so many things that I do. In so many things that are around me. While painting the mud room a few weeks ago, I started crying because she was supposed to do it with me. Her room is on the main floor, and we leave the door open. Because she is still a part of our lives. I hate to see the door closed. I like the reminder that she is still here, really. Thank goodness she left so many pictures for us to remember how much she really loved her life.