Photo by Josh Munns
4 years. That is how long it has been since we have taken a family picture. For our family…taking family pictures is a big deal. It is a huge process in getting everyone to agree on colors, themes, and places. It takes us months to get everything together and be ready.
In fact, we were trying to get everything together when we lost Laney. She wanted us to dress as Avengers. No wear Avengers. Dress like them. I vetoed that pretty quickly. No way was I putting on an Avengers costume. Laney assured me that I could be Rogue. I was NOT wearing a skin tight outfit. No way.
So after a lot of thought and time, we decided we were ready to do family pictures. I will not lie. We struggled with how to take family pictures when some in the family were not present. One is obvious why, the other not so much. The only thing we knew was that they couldn’t be there. Someone mentioned to me that family pictures are a snapshot of this time period in your life. That made so much sense to me.
Brynna and I came up with the idea of doing Avengers shirts, partly because it was cool, but also because it was incorporating something Laney wanted before. So everyone picked their favorite Avenger and we got a shirts. Wade came up with a Captain America action figure and a street shark to represent those who weren’t there. And he stood in Laney’s place as they were waiting for the photographer to be ready. And then he took off running, leaving an open spot and four girls laughing. He made is so much easier for us to take pictures with part of the family missing.
But the amazing thing is who took the pictures and the story behind it. His name is Josh Munns. I barely know him, but I know his parents very well. We know a handful of people that could have taken the pictures, and all do an amazing job. But for some reason, we knew that Josh should be the one to take them.
The only problem was that Josh was busy working 16 hour days. But we asked anyway. He told us he was too busy, and that he could refer us to someone. But not ten minutes later, he said he would do it. I can’t explain why I felt so much like Josh needed to do them. But I am grateful that he did. Grateful that he put up with our antics. That he laughed at our action figures. That he gave us something amazing when we were so emotional about doing our first family pictures without Laney. He is one of my heroes.
He captured it perfectly. Especially the fact that we are doing okay. That things have gotten softer. Easier in a way. What do you think?
I’m struggling. I will admit it. There are so many things that have been hard the last few months. Writing a blog post is one of them. It is so hard to write when it brings so many emotions to the forefront. Health issues and personal stress add to that as well. But right after Laney’s birthday, came Mother’s Day. That is always a very hard one for me. I love all of my kids and am glad to be their mom, but when one is missing, it makes things more difficult. More emotional.
Then came Father’s Day. Two months before we lost Laney, She and her sisters made a video for Wade for Father’s Day. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. About how much he loved every second of it. About how funny she was. About how much she loved to include her sisters. About how much she loved her dad.
I thought yesterday about how not a day goes by, or even an hour when I don’t think about Laney. That I don’t miss her. That I don’t wish and dream and hope. It probably doesn’t help that I have to pass the mountain where she fell every day on my way to and from work.
Our knowledge that she is ours forever helps to lessen the pain. But missing her is just so hard! I am trying to live the kind of life that will not only lead me back to my Savior, but also to my daughter. Because I know she expects it of me. Of all of us.
So I will try to be strong. Try to be better. Try to live so that when I see her again, she can laugh and point out what an idiot I was for wearing mis-matched shoes to a BBQ yesterday. Because she will.
I meant to get this posted yesterday, but the day slipped away before I knew it:
Today is Laney’s 22nd birthday. I have been thinking so much about her this month, that the entire month of April has been an emotional one for me. April is Organ Donor Awareness month, too, so that made me think about everything all over again. Laney was an organ donor.
I really cannot believe that this is the second birthday she has been gone. I don’t think it will be any easier as the years go by. I don’t know that I want them to. I don’t WANT to forget and move on. She was my baby girl. My daughter. My hero.
This month, as I have been focused on thoughts of Laney, some things just kind of hit me, and it makes me cry. When I saw the griddle on the counter from my girls making pancakes, it made me cry. Laney loved pancakes. She would eat them every meal of the day if I let her. Or that day when I picked up a pair of pants only to realize they were Laney’s favorite jeans. We had tried to patch them, but it never would hold. She wouldn’t throw them away. Now, I am glad that she didn’t.
Laney was very sentimental. She kept everything. A souvenir of every moment in her life. The older she got, the more she turned to pictures. And we are so grateful for the thousands of pictures that she took. it left us with a lifetime of memories that we will cherish forever.
Happy birthday, Lane. We love and miss you as much as always, and cannot wait until that day when we will be with you again. Would you just put a word in, and hurry it up, already?