I'm not going to lie and say that these last few weeks of our life have been a walk in the park; In fact, I'm going to be completely honest. We have good days, we have bad days, we have okay days, and we have terrible days. It has been a roller coaster!
I often find myself sitting and pondering what happened--the more I dwell on it, the harder things seem to get. My mind won't shut off, and things spin out of control very quickly. I find myself asking questions as to why this had to happen...why us? It is incredibly easy to get upset over it, and the more I think about it, the more sad and angry I get. As I have talked with Tyler, my Mom, and numerous other family members I have realized that the more time and energy I put into being happy, the better I feel. It is okay to think about Brenna, and what we went through. I want her to be a part of our family-- It's okay to remember, and to feel different emotions. It is okay to talk about her, and remember her. I have learned that this experience will always be a part of me. I will have good days, and bad days regardless. But ultimately I am the one that will decide to be happy.
In trying to be happy, to accept my life, and where we are now, I decided to make a list of the things I consider blessings in my life. Before I start my list, I want to share some words of a hymn that has really helped me find the good in a not so great situation.
"So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged; God is over all.
Count your many blessings; angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey's end."
"Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your blessings;
See what God hath done.
Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings;
See what God hath done."
Count Your Blessings-verse 4 (LDS Hymn Book)
Blessing #1: Tyler
Tyler has been so good to me through everything. I'm sure at times he wants to strangle me, but he chooses to love me regardless. We have been through so much together. We have experienced things that most 22 year olds haven't. We have both struggled in ways that we never thought we would have to--but he is my rock, and he keeps me going when I want to give up. I am more and more amazed everyday at his strength. His testimony is incredible. He reminds me that our time here is precious, and that we should take advantage of every second--good and bad. He works so hard to provide for our family, and always makes sure our needs are met. I could not ask for a better husband!
Blessing #2: Family
I have never in my whole life felt as much love and support from our family as we have the last few weeks. I am completely amazed at how much support we have received! I can think of numerous times they have dropped whatever they were doing to come help us. I am so glad they are all so close and that we have such a close knit family. I want them all to know, that we really are so thankful for all that you have done for us--we honestly and truly have the BEST family around! We love you all so much!
Blessing #3: Prayer
Again, I have to be honest. Saying my prayers has been especially hard lately. All of us have heard the phrase "When it rains, it POURS"... This has been the case for us lately. Between everything going on with Brenna, wondering how in the world we are going to pay all of the medical bills, trips to the ER, and trying to make some pretty major decisions, I have questioned whether or not my prayers were being heard. It really takes a lot of effort to get on your knees and tell Heavenly Father that you trust him, and trust in his plan for you, when things seem to be falling apart left and right. I will admit, I have been angry. I have told him that I am angry. I have told him how hurt and upset I am. I honestly believe he knows. He knows everything. He knows how mad I am that he took my baby away. He understands. It has taken time for me to realize that he has never left me alone. There have been little miracles, tender mercies, and continuous love. I have been on my knees numerous times, asking for his forgivness for thinking that he left me alone, and for being so angry with him. Sometimes life seems so dark and dreary, you feel like you are alone, and that no one understands. We tend to focus on all of the bad things, forgetting about the small and simple blessings that we receive daily. As I have tried to focus on my blessings, things seem to go better. It puts things into perspective, things are really never as bad as they seem. There is always someone who has it worse than you do. I consider prayer to be one of my biggest blessings. It is a beautiful gift given to us by our Heavenly Father. I want to challenge each of you, struggling with something or not, to kneel down and say your prayers. When life gets hard, pray. When you don't want to pray, pray more. Open up your heart, and share your desires. They will be heard. I have learned that by sharing my feelings, my wants, and my needs, that I have indeed grown closer to the Lord. He knows me personally, and he knows what is best for me. I cannot begin to imagine what life would be like without being able to say my prayers.
Blessing #4: The Temple
I believe that through the covenants that I have made with my Heavenly Father and my husband in the temple, that I have the opportunity to be with my family forever. I have found much comfort in this. I know that if Tyler and I strive to do our best, and continue to do the things we are supposed to, we will be blessed with eternal life, and be able to have Brenna again. We are more determined than ever to be our best selves, so we can be united in Heaven as an eternal family!
This one may seem odd, but during this whole experience I have been blessed with many "angels". I have met numerous people who have helped me and touched my heart in ways that I didn't think were possible. There are people here on the earth who I consider angels, as well as angels up in Heaven who have blessed my life, and made me a better person. Not a day goes by that I don't think of those angels who have been a very big part of our life. There are no words to say how thankful I am for those special angels!
If there is one thing I have learned throughout this trial, I would say it was love. I have learned how to love with my whole heart and soul. Not just members of my family, not just Tyler, but everyone I come in contact with. My eyes have been opened--I want to share an experience that we had shortly after Brenna passed away.
Tyler and I had just said goodbye to Brenna. I sat down in my wheelchair, with tears streaming down my face. Our parents were waiting outside of Brenna's room for us to head back to my room at University of Utah Hospital. As we were walking back, I was suddenly very aware of my surroundings. My world had completely stopped... We passed numerous amounts of people on our way back to my room. All I could think of was "How can they just act like nothing has happened...? Can't they see I just lost my baby...? Why does everything seem to be going on like normal...?" In that moment, I had a thought. As we continued our walk back to the hospital, the questions changed... "why are they here at the hospital...? What trials are they facing in their life...? What are they having to deal with...?" In a split second I realized that yes, I just lost my baby, but I am not the only one who is going through a hard time. I realized that even though my world completely crashed down around me, there are others who have it a lot worse than I do. I realized that I have the ability to pick up the pieces of my shattered heart, and put them back together if I choose to do so. I can also help those around me. I have a new found respect for people. I have a new love for those around me. I have learned that it is so easy to judge, to put other people down. I promised myself, and my Heavenly Father that I would try harder to be more understanding of the people around me. To love them regardless of their flaws, their trials, their habits, their likes, or their dislikes. All of us are linked together--we are all children of our Heavenly Father. We should treat each other as Christ would treat us--with nothing but love and respect. I'm not saying we should go around giving hugs to everyone we see, but rather be more tolerant and understanding of the people we come in contact with. You never know what they are facing in their life, and we should all be more careful to not judge or overstep our boundaries. I am a firm believer that everyone that comes into our life, does so for a reason. They are here to teach us, and help us. Sometimes for the good, and sometimes for the bad. So, before you pass a judgment, take a step back. Ask yourself those questions. Try to look at that person as the Saviors would. I have nowhere near perfected this concept, but I have been trying a lot harder. It really helps me realize the unconditional love my Heavenly Father and my Savior have for me.
My list of blessings could go on and on, but right now these are the most important to me. These are the things that keep me going everyday--Knowing that I have so many wonderful blessings that for the longest time I have taken for granted. It is so easy to overlook the small daily blessings, but if I look for them, I can easily find them, and most of the time they end up being the most precious blessings I have ever received.
"Some blessings come soon, some come late,
and some don't come until Heaven;
But for those who embrace the gospel
of Jesus Christ, THEY COME."
-Jeffery R. Holland