The seizure

It was September 17, 2009.

It is a hard day to remember.

It was 7:05 am and I dropped by my boss’s office to say good morning and then take my lunch to the lunch room, but I never made it there.  I glanced at the clock and remember thinking, “It is only 7:10 am and I am getting a really bad migraine.”  That was the last thing I remember until 7:55 am.

I had a seizure.  Apparently my lunch box flew.  I went face down onto the cement floor and seized.  My chin ripped open in the fall, I broke four teeth, and I stopped breathing.  Thankfully my boss was there.  She got help, I got CPR, and the ambulance came.  Someone frantically called my husband, who had stayed home that day, and woke him up.  He said it was a horrible thing to wake up to a phone call from your wife’s work.  The first thing I remember is the paramedic asking me who the President of the United States was.  I answered his question and said, “Can we move on?”  I had been answering the questions but I have no recollection of it at all.  How can our brains do that?  I don’t know.

But as we drove to the ER, I realized that something bad had happened.  And I was 14 weeks pregnant with my first child.  I wasn’t worried about me, I was worried that I had ruined my child.  I was worried about my husband driving to see me, I was worried that I was going to have to be making some crazy phone calls and yet, I didn’t even remember what happened.

It was a really hard day and a really humbling day to realize that life is so precious.  One minute I am saying good morning and then I am sitting in the ER the next.  Everything turned out just fine.  My baby girl was just fine (good thing I had some nice padding for her!), my chin got stitched up, I spent a lot of time at the dentist, and I was not allowed to drive or be by myself for a period of time.  It was another part of the humbling experience.  My independence was suddenly taken away from me.  I felt like I needed to process what was going on, but I was always with someone.  I am so grateful for so many people who helped me during that time.  I am grateful for Val, Doug, Scott, Terrie, Denise, Eric, and our parents who would call and check up on me from time to time.  Part of me realized that I was learning a big lesson, but the other part of me still didn’t grasp what had happened.

Through all the neurological testing that came after, there were NO answers.  It was a “fluke” and because they couldn’t figure it out they wanted to put me on high doses of medication that I felt that I didn’t need.  I didn’t take anything, I didn’t have any more seizures, but the memory of that day lives on.

The question for me was never, “Why Me?” but the question has always been “Why am I still here?”  I don’t think that I have all the answers to that question still.  Seven years later and I am still finding daily little puzzle pieces, but I am so grateful for the time I have been given.  I try hard to send something to my two heroes that saved me that day, but I don’t feel like it is ever enough.  How can you truly give something back to people that gave you your life back?

I am thankful for that day, seven years ago when I was able to remember that my life is in the hands of God.  I am thankful for that day, and for the many blessings and miracles that I have been able to be a part of.  I am thankful for that day, and for the many days that have happened after.  But most of all, I am thankful for life, for God, and for His love for me.  I have felt His love for me, in many tender times.  I am grateful that He is there for me, even when I turn away from Him and need to humble myself to feel His hand in my life.  What a blessing to have many hands lifting me up so many times. I use this day to remember the many people in my life, who have lifted me up and who continue to lift me up.  Thank you.

Advertisements

Henry hole-in-the-wall and kindness

I want you to meet Henry.  This is Henry.20160909_210243

He used to be a hole-in-the-wall.

20160227_144922

The reason we have Henry is because we found a leak on the outside of our house and the warranty we bought when we bought our home, doesn’t cover anything on the OUTSIDE.  I will spare you the rant and the details about the warranty, believe me I could go on for lots of words.  Well, I called my brother.  Yep, my brother Eric who lives less than 4 miles from me, because he seems to always know what to do.  Eric cut a huge hole in the wall and found the leak and fixed it for less than $50.  It was amazing to me, to say the least.

Well, every time I see Henry, I think of my brother.  Every time my 2-year-old sees Henry she says, “Uncle Eric fixed for us!”  It makes my heart happy.  Not because Eric is filled with knowledge of how to fix things, but because of what it means to me.

Eric and I have always been close.  We have always had a bond.  It is hard to describe really.  We were two siblings that happen to be willing to listen to each other and spent a lot of time together, despite the almost 10 year age difference.  Growing up I always looked up to him and wanted to see what he was doing.  He spent a lot of time outside fixing things, but I have never really been good at fixing anything.  I am good at helping Eric though. I can get a tool, I can hold something and I can start the car when he is making sure he fixed a car right.  He has also always had an uncanny ability to help others.  Whether it is fixing or helping or listening or being able to have all the family history stories in his head.  He really is amazing.  He won’t tell you that he is amazing though, so I will!

scan115

Eric works for an airline and while I was growing up and he had “left”home he would work 4 days on and 3 days off.  He would come home a lot for those days off and we would be buddies.  I would always try to tag along, but realized that I couldn’t always.  But I figured I could learn something from him.  I learned how to reload bullets, wrote out all of his checks for him, ironed his clothes, learned how to drive a stick shift when I was 14, went on TONS of adventures in the desert with him, shot a lot of bullets with him, and spent lots of late nights talking together.  One thing we seemed to always do was load up and head out for a drive.  Sometimes we would go to our regular target shooting spot and then drive for hours through the desert with no where particular to go.  We spent a lot of time talking as we bumped through the hills and listened to a lot of classic Billy Joel songs.  The time is a treasure to me.  I am sure that he got sick of me sometimes, but I loved it.  Sometimes I didn’t know if we would make it home in one piece, but we always seemed to.

As we both got older, we would still make time to see each other.  We always had late night talks and I loved getting his insight on things.  He truly was a good friend and still is.  He was always the one I would go to to talk about things in life.  He was always so giving to others as well.  He was close to both sets of our grandparents in ways that I am sure I will never know.  He used to spend summers with my Grandma and Grandpa DeMille and it is amazing now to hear the stories from those summers and to hear about all the information he learned from that time.  When my Grandma and Grandpa Nelson moved closer to his home, he always made time to go and help out or just to be with them.  He was and is always a force for good where ever he goes.

When I flew home from a mission for my church, he had an outpatient surgery in the morning and then drove 4 hours to be there when I arrived.  I moved in with him after my mission when I found a job and it was fun to see his kindness in action again.  His kindness didn’t just stop with family. He lives in a neighborhood where there are a lot of “grandmas and grandpas”.  In the winter he wouldn’t just snow blow his drive way, but like 5 other people’s driveways because he wanted to make sure that they were able to get out.  He was good friends with one set of neighbors and they invited him over to Sunday dinner, like every week.  He went to all of their family get togethers and loved to help them out as well. He is always out serving to help someone else out.

When I moved to a neighboring state, Eric loaded up his truck and drove me there and then helped move me to another state after less than 2 years.  He is just that kind of person, through and through.  And you better believe that when I started dating Scott seriously, it was Eric who was asking all of the important questions!  The crazy thing was that Eric started dating Denise (his wife now!) shortly after I started dating Scott.  It was Eric that Scott was more nervous about meeting the first time!  It was fun to be at the same point in our lives as we continued to move forward, we had MANY late night talks around this time.  I remember staying up late with him the night before I got married and talking about how even though things were changing, we always needed to help out each other and to be able to give to those around us.  100_0012

When he married is wonderful wife, Denise, the ability to help people out multiplied.  Now they work together and serve so many people, it makes my head spin.  We also have kids around the same age and that has been fun too. Then when we were going to buy our house, I called Eric again and again and again…and I am sure that I will call him again because he told me I should.

I am so, so grateful for Eric.  Not just because of all the things that he has done to help me out, but for being a great example of kindness in action in his whole life.  I love that my home has little things to remind me of certain people and certain times of life.  But I love most of all, Henry and that my kids can see their Uncle Eric is a “helper” not just to us but to so many.  I am not ready to paint over Henry, I still have a lot to learn about kindness and helping others.

Transitional change

Transition and change.  Those two words keep rolling around in my head.  Yes, change can be great and awesome and so needed, but sometimes change is hard.  I have a friend that always says, “Change is the only constant thing in life.”  It truly is, but it doesn’t make it all easy.  Transition is what I have been telling myself, instead of change.  It seems like a nicer word, not so harsh, but gentle.  Well no matter how you put it, sometimes it is just plain hard.  Why have I been thinking about this?  Because I feel like my life and the life of my family has been in constant transition.   Let me fill you in…

In August my wonderful husband finished his last graded semester of graduate school.  I felt like I had been waiting so long for him to be done and then realized that he only have 5 days off, until the next semester started and Jenna started 1st grade.  It was a huge let down to say the least.  I am so glad that Scott has the opportunity to go to graduate school and it is amazing to see how much he has learned and progressed, but truthfully it is amazing to have him home WITH us, while he is on break.  When he is in school, we see him for 1 hour a day, when we are eating dinner, so needless to say, I miss my best friend.  Well, before you know it, the next semester started and I miss him.  It is always hard to miss him so fiercely, knowing that he is just down stairs, but I miss being WITH him.  Thankfully, he is on his last semester doing his final project, but somehow that makes it harder.  It is like it is so close but ALWAYS out of reach.  My least favorite comment from people when they hear he is in graduate school is, “Oh, he will be out and done before you even know it.”  Well people, 3 years seems like a really long time to spend without your best friend around.  In this 3 years, we have added our third child, bought our first house, and countless other stuff.  We had done it, but it is still hard.  I don’t know when the last day of the semester is, I don’t think I want to know, for now I will just keep missing my Scott.

Then as mentioned above, Jenna started 1st grade.  I miss her terribly as well.  I know that it is good for her and I know that she is learning so much, but my mother heart breaks still, every school day morning when I send her off to school at 8:45 and don’t see her cute face until she walks home with her walking group around 3:45.  It is even harder when she is coming home and saying she is bored.  I hate to hear that, but I knew that she would be at the beginning.  She doesn’t know everything but she is very bright.  Her favorite things at school are…wait for it…….lunch and coloring.  Haha, food and being creative!  My sweet girl, how I miss her and her hugs, giggles, and the ability she has to entertain herself, Jake and Tessa.  Jake and Tessa miss her so much too.  It is a huge transition.  One of the transitions is the transition of power.  Jake is learning to be in charge and become a leader with Tessa, but then he struggles to maintain that when Jenna is back.  Tessa just wants to play with Jenna.  I also realize how important a good teacher is for my little girl.  She is growing up and having her own individual experience, which she needs, but it is not always easy to watch them grow up.

And then there is Jake.  Jake is old enough to go to preschool this year.  We had him signed up for a place down the street to go to, but realized that financially we couldn’t do it.  The same thing happened with Jenna, so I was actually excited to have Jake home with me for another year. Doing at-home preschool has been a huge blessing (which I will talk about more later) but it is also a huge humility factor for me.  It seems like preschool is like a rite of passage now and I feel people judging the decision that we had made to do it at home.  Granted, people don’t know the whole situation and it seems more hurtful to me than it probably does to anyone else, but it feels like some days we have done something wrong and that Jake will not be ready for kindergarten…well, I know that he will be fine.

At-home preschool is one of the greatest investments of my time with my children.  We did the same thing with Jenna.  At-home curriculum supplemented with an online school readiness program.  It has been amazing to see how different the two kids are.  When I did preschool with Jenna, her learning style was completely different than what I am doing for Jake.  Jenna taught herself how to read when she was 2, so we did a lot of reading, vocabulary, and word games, etc.  Jake is still learning his alphabet SOUNDS.  For some reason he just doesn’t have them clear in his head, which is fine.  Jenna was more abstract principles of learning, Jake is hands on and activity based.  This last week we did the letter “X”.  It was great fun, we practiced writing “x”, came up with mighty machines that had an “x” in them, went on a treasure hunt (because “x”marks the spot), made an x-ray with q-tips, went on a nature walk and found some nature stuff outside then glued them into a “X” which is proudly displayed on the kitchen wall.  It is great to learn with my kids and understand their learning styles.  This knowledge helped me a ton when Jenna went into kindergarten and now in 1st grade.

But with all this fun, Jenna now wants to stay home and do preschool with us and not just “learn at her desk all day.”  So there is this transitional balance that I am still trying to figure out.  So I guess, all in all, I just love each one of my family members to pieces and miss them when they are away.  Change is a good thing, but sometimes my mother heart has a hard time stretching and expanding. I am grateful for prayer and that I can always say a little pray  for any and all of my family that I am missing.  It gives me a greater understanding of my Heavenly Father and how I am sure He misses us. Loving someone is not just loving them when they are near, but wherever they are.  I hope Scott, Jenna, Jake, and Tessa feel my love every day and that I share that love with them everyday.