Monday, March 25, 2013

Uncle Mike's Graveside Service

My mom's younger brother Mike died of cancer on Saturday, March 2, 2013, two days before my dad.    He had a graveside service the day after my dad's funeral.  His took longer because he was cremated.  My uncle Tom's motorcycle gang gave him the escort to the cemetery for his "last ride".

His box was seriously the SMALLEST box I've ever seen..... not that I've seen a lot of cremations.  But out of the three, his was TINY!  Look at the flowers next to it...him...  His box is so small.  I swear that he is not all in there.

My cousin Kandi, Mike's daughter gave a tribute and Kandi's boys, Mike's grandson's, sang a song to him.  My cousin Tom Tolman made banana muffins for everyone when it was over.  It was a nice tribute.  I think he would have liked it.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Molly's Kindy 500

Molly was so super excited for her Kindy 500.  We made a Lalaloopsy car.  It unfortunately happened to be the same morning as my dads funeral.  I took her to school, quickly snapped some pictures of her and then ran off to my dads funeral.

She was so mad that I made her take pictures first.  She wanted to run right into the school.  She was so excited and could hardly wait.

I told her I was going to keep taking pictures until I got a smile.........
So she gave me this cheesy grin.  It worked!

Molly in her parade.  She stayed for school and went home with friends while I went to the funeral.
She had a great day at school!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Friday we laid him to rest

 On Wednesday Nancy, Vivian, Glen, Darren, Brian and I met at Walker Mortuary in Spanish Fork. (I don't know why Brent wasn't there)  We went over the obituary, what we wanted to do for the tribute video and what pictures we wanted to use.  We picked out a casket, a vault and figured out all the expenses.  Glen, Darren and I split the near $7000 costs of the funeral. 
The next day my dad's obituary came out in the Provo Daily Herald.  His viewing was that night.  In hind sight I realize now that we should've waited longer.  There were so many people who didn't know about it.  We should've done his viewing on Sunday night and buried him on Monday.  But we didn't.  Anyway, he had a full house with people coming in all night.  There was a steady line for nearly 2  hours.  What a tribute!  We had a table with all different kinds of things on it of my dads.  There was his muzzle loader gun powder horn holder.  His mountain man bag and his muzzle bullet holder.  There were tons of pictures of him thourghout his life.  His Utah Jazz slippers, his US Navy hats, his rugs, pottery, Indian dolls and other Navajo items.  We also had his cane and walking staff that his friend Don Shiffman had made him.  He wanted them both to buried with him but Nancy decided to keep the staff and we put the cane in with him.  They were made out of beautiful wood and had turquoise inlays.  My dad wanted a closed casket.  So I printed up an 8x10 picture of him and it sat on top of his casket.  My sweet little Cade had a terrible time with letting grandpa go.  He really loved my dad and he just cried and cried.  At the end of the night we opened up his casket and let whatever family who wanted to, see him.  Cade was right up, and he didn't just look, he lingered and stared and sobbed.  It was heartbreaking.  He would walk away and come back and cry some more.  Suzette gave us the idea to have him write him a letter and draw him a picture and place it in his casket the next day to be buried with him.  That night we came home and Cade sat down and thougth about what he wanted to say.  He drew a picture of him and grandpa.  Then he wrote a letter to him.  I so badly wanted to make a copy of it but I didn't.  His letter went close to this:

Dear Grandpa,
I miss you so much.  I wish you were still here.  I want to still talk to you.  I want to go fishing with you and me and my dad and Jens.  I'm sorry that you are not here to take care of grandma.  But I will help take care of her.  I know that I will see you again.  I love you very much.
Love, Caden

PS My dad and mom love you very much too
(Jeff read the letter with me.  Tears slipped down both of our faces.  Jeff had him add the "ps" part) 

That next night, Cade had a dream.  He and grandpa, Jeff and Jens all went fishing.  Everyone caught fish BUT grandpa!  So then they went hunting and guess who got the first and best shot - grandpa!  Cade woke up so happy.  He felt great.

The next day we went to the Salem West Stake Center for his funeral.  We set up a small table in the RS room with a few pictures.  

We had a ton more people come through.  So many of the people were people that they had served missions with.  So many friends.  I was so happy for him.  I was pleased to meet all those that I didn't already know and happy to see those who I already did know.  Darren gave the family prayer.  All the boys and I went up after and mostly Glen and Brent put his cap on him.  Cade placed his letters and a picture from Molly (we left her with friends) in the side of his casket down by his hands.  Glens kids placed some letters in there and a letter from Alec, along with Brent's kids.  Cade did so much better this day.  He was able to say goodbye and he felt so much better.
  We made our way into the chapel.  We all filed in and I was surprised to see just how many more people were there.  Lots more that I expected.  The entire chapel and the overflow were filled.  I gave the opening prayer, Brian spoke, Vivian read the words to A Bird Without Wings by Celtic Thunder (one of my dads favorite songs) Brittany read a letter from Alec, Mont Davis gave a tribute, Marylin Atwood sang a song called Come Home, Uncle Neldon spoke, President Roy Silcox gave closing remarks and Brent gave the closing prayer.  While I was sitting there near the end I got a wafting smell of my dad / dads house.  That wood burning fireplace smell.  I breathed in deep and wondered where it came from.  About 20 minutes later Jeff started to breath deep.  He asked me if I could smell my dad.  At that point I couldn't but I knew that he had been there!

We drove up to Salem City Cemetery.  Nancy rode in the car with us.  We followed right behind the hearse.  The American Legion was already there waiting to give my dad a military funeral for his 4 years of service to the National Guard.  

The teenage grandsons, Nancy's grown grandson's and cousin Steve Jensen were the pallbearers.

They folded the flag, saluted, and then presented it to Nancy.  They then announced that my dads name would be placed on the wall of honor.  It made me smile real big.  I hadn't expected that.

Then the American Legion gave their 21 gun salute and the bugler played Taps.

The pallbearers and my brothers placed their carnations on his casket.

We went back to the church and had a lunch that had been prepared by the 1st Ward Relief Society.  

I got all my first cousins who were there for our FIRST EVER picture together.  We were only missing 2 of Wanda's boys, Mark and Bruce.  We were missing Norma's 3 kids; Kathy, Kevin and Shelly and we missed Neldon's daughter Julie and son Craig.  Craig had been there earlier but had already left.

In order of age - youngest to oldest from left to right:
Abbie - Brian - Brent - Darren  - Glen - Steve - Linda - Jeff - Charlotte - Rhonda - Gloria - Michael 
I'm the youngest at age 36.  Michael is the oldest at age 64. 

Then we lined up the grand kids in age from oldest to youngest from left to right.  We are missing Adam and Alec who are both on missions.  They are number 2 and 3 in age.  We were also missing Miss Molly is second to youngest.  She was at her friends house being babysat.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Today he passed away

I got a call this morning at 7:58am from Brian.  He said that it was time and to hurry up to dads.  I quickly showered, called Shasta and asked her to take care of Cade and Molly in getting them to school and I hurried up there.  I got there at 8:20am.  Last night my dad told Nancy that he was too tired, he was done and this was his last night.  Nancy put him to bed and some time during the night, my dad made his way out of his bed and into his chair and he drove himself out by the fireplace.  When Nancy woke up a little after 7:00, she found my dad there in his chair unconscious.  She called Brian.  Brian ran up there as quick as he could and checked his vitals.  His pulse was weak and his oxygen was was about 64%, instead of being around 98%.  He called the hospice nurse and she said that it was time to call everyone in.  When I arrived, my dad was in the living room in his wheelchair, unconscious.  Erman Stone and Paisley Callister came to assist Brian and I getting dad into his bed where he would be more comfortable.  We laid him on the bed and put his pajama bottoms on him and covered him up with the blankets.  We held his hands and I rubbed his feet.  I told him about the great memories I had of him playing school with me when I was little.  I told him how I had always loved to comb his hair.  I used to dip a comb in a glass of water and comb his hair.  Then dip the comb and comb his hair.  Before we would know it, water would be streaking down his face and neck.  He would just quietly sit there and watch TV and let me do it.  
Not many words were spoken that morning but volumes were felt.  
Glen made it there about 8:45am.  He took one look at dad and started to cry.  We kept trying to reach Uncle Neldon who was working at the Provo Temple.  Finally I called my friend Roxann Barney for help.  She called the temple and the temple president, Stan Riding, found Neldon and Diane and told them to come home.  Unfortunately they wouldn't make it in time.  We just continued to hold his hands and rubbed his arms.  He started to get a really weak heartbeat.  Brian kept rubbing his chest hard telling dad to take a good breath.  He would take a breath but he was never conscious.  He really wanted to die but we wouldn't let him until Brent got there.  I kept telling him that I knew that he was tired and ready to move on but he needed to wait just 5 more minutes for Brent.  We called Brent and told him to hurry!  Brent drove 125 MPH from Springville to Benjamin and got there as soon as he could.  I kept telling dad to just wait 3 more minutes for Brent.  Just wait a minute more.....  I called Darren on the phone (he was in Orlando) and I held the phone to dads ear.  Darren cried and told dad goodbye.  Then I put him on speaker and put the phone on dads chest so that he could hear everything and be a part of it.  Brent finally got there and came into his room and he stroked dads cheek and told him he was there.  My dad gargled, his eyebrows pursed together and then relaxed.  About one minute later I looked down at the oxygen reader on dads finger and it was zeroed out.  I told the nurse to come and check him.  She listened to he heart and whispered that he had passed.  It was 9:25am.

Nancy sobbed.  My brothers and I silently cried.  Diana stood in the doorway with tears streaking down her cheeks.  We continued to hold his hands.  It was very peaceful.  My dads jaw kept moving like he was still trying to breath and the nurse said that it was just reflexes.  After some time had passed, Nancy went and got a shirt and Glen, Brent, Brian and I sat him up and got his shirt on him.  We laid him back down and buttoned it up.  I combed his hair and we had him all ready to go.  Family and friends started to pour in to pay their respects. Carolee made it there, Neldon and Diane, their son Steve.  Dick Hanks, Ralph and Sue Hughes, Debbie and Dennis, their son Gavin and his wife and kids, Kathy and all the kids, Sharon and Harold and several others.  
We had the mortuary come and pick him up at 2:00pm.
We planned his funeral, the speakers, the songs, the prayers.
I ordered the flowers.
I came home to find that I had some pretty amazing friends and family.  They had made my bed, washed my dishes and laundry, taken care of my kids, ran Jens to his orthodontist appointment and made us dinner.  

I am so glad that I was able to spend that time with my dad.  It was so calm and peaceful.  There was no pain, no struggle, just peace. 

My most favorite place to cry during this whole ordeal has been the shower.  I have cried so hard so many times in the shower.  No one to see me.  No one to hear me.  I have been able to spend his final days with him.  We have had close talks, I've been able to confide things in him, share feelings with him, and then cry in the privacy of my own shower.

The place I hate to cry is late at night in my bed.  I try to silence my tears and let them silently fall onto my pillow.  Thankfully Jeff continues to sleep next to me without being disturbed.  I don't know why but I sooo don't want him to know that I'm crying about it.  Stupid I know, but I don't still the same.

I am ready to put this sadness behind me.  I think I will have another loud, sobbing cry in the shower in the morning and then I will try to be done.  Dad said that he didn't want us to cry and grieve his passing.  I can't do that.  I will have one more good cry, or maybe two, and then I will be done.  I will enjoy his memory from that point forward.