I figured something out the other day as I was driving through the little town near where we lost Laney. I deal with her loss by not thinking about it. Out of sight, out of mind, right? I wish it were really that easy, but I really do try not to think about that day. I try not to let my mind wonder to the mountain, or the events following. It makes me cry. Okay, everything makes me cry.
Because I get so emotional over everything, I have found it best not to think about the things that hurt the most. And so far, I am doing okay. I am hanging in. I am choosing to remember the good things and not focus on the harder things. I think that by doing this, I am coping. Some days, just barely.
There are a couple of things that make it easier for my family to cope. Having Jens here makes things better for us. Knowing that he loves Laney as much as we do helps heal our broken hearts. My niece knows when we need her, and has been a helping hand for my family from the start.
I try to remember the crazy things she did that made me roll my eyes or laugh out loud. Like the time when she couldn’t figure out how to make a fried egg the way I did. She loved my fried eggs. I came home from work to find that she had used my Belgian waffle maker to make fried eggs. I never did see them, but she did it often, so they must have been good.
Or the times when she would call me from college, put me on speaker phone and ask me to tell her friends that I really did put cream cheese in my mashed potatoes. She thought it was funny that they wouldn’t believe her until they heard it from me.
These are the little things that are getting me through each day. Little moments that maybe weren’t significant at the time, but are now precious memories. Things that help me to hang in and hang on. And it seems to be working.
My life hasn’t been at all what I had planned. It has been much harder than I ever imagined. Not that we imagine how hard life will be. I don’t know what my young mind thought life would be like, but I am sure it wasn’t this. Some of the circumstances we find ourselves in may be harder than we imagined, while others will be delightfully pleasant. More than we dreamed.
As a girl, all I dreamed of was getting married in the temple to a great guy, being a mom, being able to stay home with the kids, and living happily ever after. I am sure that most girls dream of something similar. I know my girls dream about it. They talk about it all the time.
But sometimes life becomes the unexpected. I never thought that we would have struggles like unemployment. Or illness. Or a disabled child. I would never have thought that I would lose my daughter. She is the first and only grandchild or great grandchild on both sides of the family that we have lost. That is over 200 kids. And Laney had to go and be the first. Sounds just like her.
There are some amazing things that were unexpected, too. I never thought I would have twins. Or have amazingly talented daughters. Or have some of the talents that are mine. I never thought I would be here, helping others. But I am.
So in my unexpected life, I will continue to expect the unexpected, and nothing will be able to surprise me again. Because I am expecting it. I tell myself all the time that I can do hard things. And the unexpected things can be the hardest. But, I will face those things I cannot change and know that I have people pulling for me. Both on this side of the veil and the other. Because they are.
Laney had a passion for life. She loved passionately, too. She lived for everything. You always knew where you stood with her. And once you were her friend, she treated you like her best friend. When everyone told us Laney was their best friend, we believed it. I think we would have to put them all into a room and let them fight over who was her best friend. That’s how she made you feel.
When Laney was a junior in high school, she started liking this cute boy named Jens. Okay, like is an understatement. Laney LOVED Jens. Right from the beginning. He was a good friend of hers, even coming to say goodbye to her the night before he left on his mission. That was the first time I had met him. And I knew he was amazing. Even then.
They wrote to each other his entire mission. Laney knew she was going to marry Jens even before he left on his mission. She wrote about it in her journal.All the time.
The remarkable part of this story of Laney’s love is that Jens loved her, too. So much so, that he was there when she needed him the most, and knew exactly what to do to help her. He was with her when she left this life. He is the best of the best. He is the man that every mother wishes their daughters would grow up and marry. She was so excited to get married to Jens. While not officially engaged yet, they were planning on getting married in the Laie, HI temple this year.
Jens has been a constant presence and provided ongoing support for our family. Laney and Jens loved each other truly and deeply. They still do. We love Jens, too. He is our brother, our son, and our hero. He deserves the very best this life has to offer him. We can’t wait to see what amazing things unfold for him. Because he deserves amazing. And I am sure Laney will help still him achieve it. Jens helps us to have courage everyday because we can’t wait to see how his amazing turns out.