Medical Marijuana and the LDS Church

Medical marjiuana.jpg

On Friday, February 5, 2016 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints opposed a bill in the Utah legislature brought forth by Senator Mark Madsen that would make Utah the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana. citing unintended consequences that could come with use of the drug.

And I am angry.

I grew up being taught that the LDS church was politically neutral. Every election season a letter is read over the pulpit in every Ward in the United States written by the First Presidency emphatically stating that the church keeps out of politics.

However, this past legislative session in Utah has proven that the church’s long-claimed stance of political neutrality is false. Most people outside the state don’t understand how one religion, no matter how prominent, can have such an effect on state policies. But it does. Most of the state legislators identify as LDS and as any LDS person will tell you, when the prophet speaks, you listen, and you do as you are told. Obedience above conscious.

The reason for opposing medical marijuana?

Unintended consequences.

You mean like people suffering from chronic, debilitating, and painful diseases getting relief?

You mean like people who do suffer those painful diseases not becoming addicted to the opioids their doctors prescribe because that’s all doctors can do legally?

You mean like people being high all the time on THC? NEWFLASH – these same people are high all the time. On opioids.

And because they are having to ever increase their opioid use with no legal proven alternative available, it is leading to some patients becoming addicted. Utah has an insanely high opioid usage rate as well as heroin rate. The Utah Department of Health has noted that Utah has an experienced a more than 400% increase in prescription drug use injuries and death in the last decade. An average of 21 Utahns die a month due to prescription drug overdoses. Utah ranks 8th highest in prescription drug overdose deaths in the United States.

Marijuana isn’t the drug you should be worried about, LDS church.

Heavy opioid use for chronic pain also leads to liver damage, digestive difficulties like not being able to keep food down and chronic, and bowel damaging, constipation.

I’m sure the LDS church leaders believe this is a moral issue, so I have to ask…

What’s so moral about letting people suffer?

No one has ever overdosed on Marijuana.

I could see if this were legalizing recreational marijuana use why the LDS church would be opposed to that and taking a strong stance against it.

But this is about medicinal use in oil form. Mormons love their medicinal oils. I’m sure if doTerra was pushing this, all the prominent MLM owning Mormons would jump at having it legalized.

Luckily Senator Madsen is not kowtowing to the incredible and inappropriate overreach of the LDS church into state politics. He has proposed 8 amendments to the law that he hopes will alleviate concerns to the Bill.

Anecdotally, when my mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer in August 2007. She opted for chemotherapy treatments to extend her life and it was awful. She threw up constantly. She couldn’t keep any food down, thereby becoming dehydrated. She was in constant pain. Her doctor prescribed for her Marinol to help increase her appetite and deal with the nausea chemotherapy caused. Marinol is one of the cannabinoids.

I wish I could sit down with the leaders of the LDS church and describe to them what it was like to watch my mom suffer an absolute nightmarish hell during her last 3 months on this earth. I wish I could tell them what it was like to sit with her in her hospital room watching her writhe in pain, wake up and look at me with panic-stricken eyes that reminded me of a wounded animal, and beg me, BEG ME, her second daughter, someone she called “girl baby” and nursed at her breast until I was 15 months old, BEG ME to go find someone to kill her. Please tell me how you would feel to have your mother, a light and sunshine to everyone she knew, be suffering so much she begged you to find someone to take her life.

You know that scene in Terms of Endearment when Debra Winger is in the hospital dying of cancer and her mother, Shirley MacClaine, goes and screams at the nurses and demands they relieve the suffering of her dying daughter? Yeah, that was me.

Please tell where the dignity is in letting dying people suffer when oil from a plant…A PLANT that God planted in the ground.. can alleviate suffering? Why are those who aren’t suffering constantly asking others to do it when they have no idea the pain that is involved?

On another anecdotal note, I’m old enough now to have several friends who suffer from various chronic, painful diseases:  Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Rheumatoid arthritis, Anxiety, Erytohmelalgia (or Mitchell’s syndrome), and numerous other autoimmune disorders. THC has been proven to alleviate the pain and other symptoms that these debilitating and painful diseases cause. Prescribing people who are suffering ever-increasing amounts of opioids is unconscionable, and I would argue, ammoral.

So I’m begging the leaders of the LDS church to do the right thing. I was always taught growing up in church to do the right thing and let the consequences follow. I was taught to be honest in my dealings. I was taught to put the pain and suffering of others above my own comfort. Please LDS church, practice what you preach. Again I ask,

What’s so moral about letting people suffer?

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Grief and Getting Through

I’ve had a lot of loved ones recently suffer the loss of someone they love. Whether that be a parent, child, grandparent, friend, significant other, etc. My heart breaks for them because I know this pain too well. I’ve been living with the loss of my mother the past 8 years and I wanted to share what I have learned.

Several months after my mother died I attended a grief support group. Everyone in the group had lost someone significant to their lives and it was healing to be with people who knew exactly how I was feeling and it was healing to be able to support each other in our collective grief. One particular night the Social Worker who was leading the group told us that we had to find our “new normal.”

I felt an instant wave of anger at that statement. I didn’t want a “new normal.” I wanted my old normal back. I wanted a normal that included a living mother to help me navigate life and motherhood. I wanted a normal where my kids had a relationship with both their grandmas. I wanted a normal where it didn’t feel like my heart was hemorrhaging at every moment of the day.

Eventually I realized how kind that Social Worker was when she talked about a new normal. Because I didn’t have a choice. Life was going to give me a new normal whether I wanted it or not.

I learned that my new normal was going to be like if someone cut off my right hand and I had to learn how to write and function with my left hand. It’s not easy. It doesn’t feel natural. It’s against my gene’s predetermined hand dominance. But eventually I learned how to write with it. And it was sloppy and messy at first, but over time, it got easier.

And although it’s easier now, it’s not perfect. Every happiness that has come to me since my mother died has been bittersweet. She’s never going to be here for all the births, weddings, birthdays, happy occasions, accomplishments. She’s never going to be able to be a grandma to her grandkids, four of whom she will never meet. She’s never going to call me again and recap American Idol for me while I pretend to be annoyed. I’m never going to cry to her again when someone is mean to me. She’s never going to cheer me on, root for me, or tell me how much she loves me again.

And that’s okay. It’s not fair. It’s not what I want. It’s never going to be alright. But it’s okay.

Despite the bittersweet, there has been joy. And when I do have those happy moments or we as a family have welcomed a new member or enjoyed a family gathering together, we feel her with us in Spirit. If I can’t have her here on earth, I’ll settle for guardian angel.

So my new normal has become honoring her life. I do this by living the best life I can. By being happy with what I have. By helping others as much I can. By raising grandchildren to be people she would be proud of. By making others laugh. By being kind to strangers and children. By leaving the world a better place for having lived in it.

Like she did.

For Whom Mother’s Day is Difficult

Mother’s Day is this Sunday and we will collectively celebrate the women who either gave us life or raised us. We will make phone calls, or take them out to lunch, send them flowers, buy them meaningful cards, and express gratitude for all the sacrifices they made for us.

Except some of us won’t be doing any of those things on Sunday for a variety of reasons. There is a small club of us for whom Mother’s Day is difficult. This post is for us.

Mother’s Day is difficult for those of us who have lost our mothers, either through death, estrangement, or other reasons. It’s difficult for those who deal with infertility and Mother’s Day is just a reminder of what we don’t have. It’s difficult for those who have lost children and it’s a day that reminds us of what we used to have.

I remember the first Mother’s Day after my mom died. I was 8 months pregnant and completely dreading that Sunday. We all met up at the cemetery to see my mom’s headstone for the first time. She died six months previously and the ground was too hard to install it earlier. I think we went out to lunch afterwards. I can’t remember. Grief has a way of erasing memories. Self-preservation at it’s finest. The next month I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy and my mom wasn’t there to hold my hand this time.

Mother's Day

The advertising industry doesn’t realize how hard this holiday is for some of us. They don’t realize how triggering it is to see the umpteenth commercial about the perfect card/flowers/fruit bouquet you should send your mother. They don’t realize how triggering it is for women who are experiencing infertility, or are childless due to life circumstances, to see commercial after commercial reminding them that they’re not a mother when they desperately want to be. And unfortunately some bloggers are devoid of empathy and compassion and like to shame those of us who have deep-seated hurt around this day.

That is why we need to be patient with our tender little hearts. We need to do some self-care and allow ourselves to feel what we feel, without guilt or shame. (For self-care I like to take baths and read, exercise, watch silly movies with my kids, and make snarky jokes). If Mother’s Day is difficult for you for any reason your feelings are valid. Don’t allow anyone to make you feel bad for feeling bad. Give yourself the same empathy and compassion you would give your best friend. Celebrate, or don’t, however you choose this day. For this one day, it is all about you and your tender heart. Protect it.

I acknowledge that I am incredibly lucky. I have four children whom I love and who love me. They keep talking about the things they are making at school for me or the present they all want to buy me to celebrate me on Sunday. They are so sweet. What I want to do on Mother’s Day is gather them around me and embrace each one of them and tell them just how lucky I am to be their mother. They are such good kids with such big hearts. I also have a wonderful mother-in-law, who has always treated me like one of her own kids and is just about the best grandma in the whole world. I have no problem honoring her on Sunday and thanking her for all the sacrifices she has made for her family. All the things she has given to us to help us make our lives better.  All the times she has cheered us on and picked us up when we’ve fallen. Even when we’re ungrateful or don’t acknowledge just how special she is. Sometimes angels masquerade as people, and she is one of them.

mother day

However, Mother’s Day will always be bittersweet to me. No matter how thankful I am to be a mother and to have had a wonderful mother and mother-in-law, there is a part of my heart that will always be missing. It’s in the shape of my Mama Sue. On this day I will wear the necklace I gave her on the very last Mother’s Day we celebrated with her when none of us knew she was sick. I will lay flowers on her headstone and I will thank my God above that one of the bravest, funniest, most loving people I’ve ever known gave birth to me. But I will also mourn because I wish she were here for me to tell her why I’m so grateful I was lucky enough to be her daughter. Alas…alas…

Happy Mother’s Day, to all of us, the motherless, the neglected, the infertile, the childless, the discarded, the abandoned, the weary, the sad. This day is for you too.

This post was featured on The Huffington Post

Throwback Thursday – Baby Mine

I just wanted to share with my new readers the most favorite essay I have ever written. I wrote this essay back in the summer of 2006 for an upper-division English class I was taking for my minor. It has become even more meaningful to me as a mother since we have added two more children to our family and since my mother has passed away in 2007.

Baby Mine

When I was a child we were the first family on our street to own a VCR. It was mostly because my Mom wanted to be able to record Luke and Laura’s infamous wedding. Soon afterwards, Disney released most of its cartoons onto VHS. I remember watching the movie Dumbo with the same sort of enjoyment any kid would have. To me it was just a story about an elephant who could fly. To my Mom, however, it was a story about what a mother would sacrifice for her child.

I remember how my Mom would always cry when the song “Baby Mine” would play while Dumbo’s mom stuck her trunk out of her cage and rocked Dumbo to sleep. I guess the song and the scene hit my Mom hard right in the mommy-heart.

Years later, I brought my first child home from the hospital. While I reveled in our quiet moments of nursing and rocking together, I longed to find a song to sing to her that would adequately explain the feelings of joy and love I had for her. I remembered the song “Baby Mine” and I quickly learned the lyrics. I noticed that my singing never failed to quiet her when she was crying and put her to sleep after she was done nursing.

When my son was born a few years later, I sang “Baby Mine” to him as well. When he was six-weeks-old he was hospitalized for RSV. Even though he was just a tiny baby, and was a month premature already, the only time he seemed happy was when I would rock him and sing “Baby Mine.” His little baby eyes would roll back in his head and he was soon peacefully asleep.

Whenever I have sung this song to my children, my voice always catches when I sing the last lines of the song: but you’re so precious to me, cute as can be, baby of mine. I have never been able to sing the line “but you’re so precious to me” without my eyes welling up with tears. It’s because they are so precious to me. It’s hard to sing that line while I look into their angelic faces without my love for them coming to the surface.

Now that my children are a little older, they sometimes request that I sing to them before they go to sleep. Whenever I ask my two-year-old son what song he wants me to sing, he always says “Baby Mine.” I have even caught him singing the first lines of the song to himself on occasion. Sometimes when I sing it to him and he’s over-tired, he will get mad and yell, “I’m not a baby.” He doesn’t understand that he’ll always be my baby.

I have sung this song to my children, probably over a million times. The last time I did, I looked over at my two sweet angel-babies lying in their beds. Their faces were so trusting and their eyes were filled with peace. It is at these moments that I know exactly why my mother cried when Dumbo’s mom rocked him to sleep in her trunk. Again, my voice catches as I sing the words, “you’re so precious” to me. I can’t help it, the song and my children are too close to my mommy-heart.

Moms

Moms. We all have one. I mean, every single one of us grew inside of a woman until she gave birth to us. Whether that woman raised you or not, it doesn’t change the fact that giving you life makes her your mother. Whether that woman is still in your life, or you have a difficult relationship with her, or she has died, or she abandoned you, or you were given to another woman to raise…we all have a Mom.

The past six months I’ve been thinking about my own Mom a lot. I’ve been doing the grief cycle all over again since the birth of my baby. There’s something about giving birth to a new life, nurturing and caring for that new life, that makes you think about the woman who did that for you. I wonder how my Mom would react to this new little one. She delighted in being a grandma. She would come over after a stressful day at work and rock and hold my babies and call it her “baby therapy.” I wish she were sitting on my couch right now making goo goo faces at my little girl and kissing on her and bonding with her.

I had a great Mom. No, she wasn’t perfect. She made mistakes. She probably could have used some therapy to help her deal with some of her past issues. But I can honestly say she did the best she could with the knowledge and skills she had to be the best Mom she could. She did what was in her capacity to do. I know she loved me unconditionally. She supported me in my goals. She was happy for my happiness. She loved my husband and children. And I would sell everything I own to have her back in my life. (That is the bargaining part of the grief cycle).

I took my mother for granted when she was alive. I thought she would always be there. Or at least I believed she would be here until she was elderly and then it was my turn to take care of her.  I thought I had endless chances for discussions, or to work out problems, or to heal things that were broken between us, or to tell her how much I love her and how thankful I am for all the things she’s done for me. But those chances ran out quicker than I ever thought they were.

If you had a mom who cried tears of joy when she learned you were coming into this world, you are blessed. If you had a mom who marks your day of birth as one of the happiest in her life, you are blessed. If you had a mom who had many sleepless nights because of you and would be happy to do it over again, you are blessed. If you had a mom who taught you how to read, how to ride a bike, how to cook, how to become self-sufficient in some way, you are blessed. If you had a mom who kissed your booboos when you fell off that bike or cried with you the first time you had your heart broken, you are blessed. If you had a mom who taught you through her words and example how to be kind, how to serve others, how to be considerate, to say “please” and “thank you,” and how to have good manners, you are blessed. If you had a mom who supported you through the most difficult times in your life and was always your champion, you are blessed. If you had a mom who took the time to talk with you, get to know you , spend time with you, and always concerned about your welfare, you are blessed. If you have a mom who cheered your achievements on at graduation day or the job you always wanted, you are blessed. If you have a mom who has made some mistakes but has always, always tried to be a good mother to you, you are blessed. If you have a mom who never has rejected you, you are blessed. If you have a mom who gets on her knees at night and prays for you, you are blessed. If you have a mom who would move heaven and earth to be with you, you are blessed.

If you have a mom like this above, please, for my sake, don’t take her for granted. Pick up the phone and tell how much you love her. Do it for me because I can’t. The truth is your mom could be gone tomorrow. Nothing in this life is guaranteed. The last thing you want to do is grieve your mother knowing that things were left unsaid or you have huge regrets. I lost my mother and there was nothing left unsaid between us. I have no regrets about our relationship. She died knowing that I loved her as much as any daughter could love a mother. And still sometimes the pain from losing her is so palpable my heart skips a beat and I am short of breath. I can’t even imagine how much harder it would be to grieve her if I had regrets.

Moms. We all have one. If you still have one, you’re blessed.

A Month of Gratitude

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” – Melody Beattie

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving last year my bestie K and I went to a yoga class at the gym and our favorite yoga instructor read us this quote by Melody Beattie.  It was one of the best yoga sessions I have ever attended because our instructor set the entire intention toward gratitude.  She reminded us that during this crazy holiday season where stress is really high while we attend a million activities and parties while trying to decorate our houses and make holiday treats and buy a ton of presents for our kids, family, and friends, that it is good to slow down and really appreciate the blessings in our lives.

A lot of my friends have been posting on Facebook something they are grateful for every day until Thanksgiving.  Other friends have created a “gratitude tree” where they have a paper cut-out tree and every day they put a leaf on the tree with something they are grateful for until Thanksgiving (kind of like an Advent calendar) and I like this idea so much I think I will do it next year with my kids.  Last year I wrote an A,B,C post about things I am grateful for inspired by my friend Mitch.  All those things I’m grateful for still stand, but I wanted to re-iterate what I’m thankful for this year.

-I’m thankful for my family of origin.  God blessed me with two loving parents and two incredible siblings.  Even though my Mother is now in heaven and my Dad is far away, I still feel their love every day.  And my brother and sister are two of the greatest people I’ve ever known.  I’m grateful for their friendship, love, and support.  I love the people they are, the people they married who couldn’t be more perfect for them and add so much to our family, and the little people they created.  My nephews and niece are the cutest kids ever!  I’m glad that my nephews are such good friends with their cousins and that they love spending time together.  It’s true that some of your first best friends are your cousins.

-I’m thankful for the family the hubs and I created.  I married the best man I’ve ever known and not a single day has gone by where I didn’t think that marrying him was the best decision I ever made.   My sweet children add so much to my life and as usual they teach me more than I teach them.  It has been such a joy to watch them learn and grow.  I’m so grateful for the ease at which we have been able to add children to our family.  Working where I work, I can never take our fertility for granted.

-I’m thankful for the family I married into.  I’m so thankful for what a great family the hubs comes from because my mother and father-in-law are two of the nicest, kindest, most loving people I’ve ever known.  They accepted me as part of the family the day I met them.  They have helped the hubs and I out so much and they’ll never know how much I appreciate it, especially since they are the only grandparents my kids have who live nearby.  I love that my kids are so close to their grandparents and have such a bond with them.  Also, the hubs has some great siblings who also married some great people.  We have the cutest nephews and niece ever and I’m so glad my kids are close with their cousins.  The hubs’ sisters are some of my very best friends.

-I’m grateful for extended family and the love that has been given to me by uncles, aunts, cousins, second cousins, third cousins, great-aunts, and uncles, etc.  My extended family might not all be close by, but they’re always there supporting me and my family.  I’m grateful for my grandparents.  I didn’t get to know my paternal grandfather very well since he lived back east and died when I was 8.  My paternal grandmother was a force to be reckoned with and I’m glad I come from such a strong woman.  My maternal grandparents moved back to Utah from Boston when I was 2 and I was always so glad that I grew up having them be a part of my every day life.  My maternal grandfather was one of the best, kindest, most gentle men I’ve ever known.  He was out-going, loved life, never met a stranger, treated everyone like his friend, and I can’t help but think I married a man just like him.  My grandmother, while quite different from my grandpa, loved me and I’m grateful I got to know her better as an adult when the hubs and I took care of her.

-I’m grateful for good friends.  My NYCbestie and bestie K have been steadfast and loyal friends who have gotten me through a lot of hard times.  They are both my every day, in the trenches, through good times and bad, gigglefest, best friends.  My friend, Shupee, and her husband flew all the way across the country so they could spend 20 minutes at my mother’s viewing.  It was one of the most kindest, selfless things anyone has ever done for me.  She supported me through my mother’s illness by sending me cards and presents, and I wonder if she knew at the time how much that saved my life.  I have truly been blessed to call some of the most incredible people in this world my friends.

-I’m grateful for a warm home, a roof over my head, electricity, running water, enough clothes to change my outfit every day, and plenty of food, and a variety of it, to eat.  I read an article last Christmas that said if you have any of those things, you are more fortunate than 90% of all the people who have ever lived on the earth.  I try to remember this whenever I get bogged down in my first world problems.

-I’m thankful that my NYCbestie was not seriously affected by Hurricane Sandy and she is safe.  Especially considering she doesn’t live that far from places that were disastrously affected like Hoboken, NJ and Staten Island.

-I’m grateful for the good employment of the hubs and myself.  We’ve both worked in some crappy jobs and it’s nice we both now are employed in jobs and careers we love.  I’m grateful for the people I work with and the clients we work for.  I can honestly say my life has been blessed the last 6 years because of the type of work I’m involved in.

-I’m grateful for Mountain Dew and cheetos.

-I’m grateful for the great neighborhood we live in and kind, friendly, and helpful neighbors.  We moved here 3 years ago this Thanksgiving and it remains one of the best decisions we ever made for our family.  The kids go to a great school, have made great friends, and we are surrounded by great families.

-I’m grateful for my memories.  I’m grateful for having a mother who loved me unconditionally.  I’m grateful that if she can’t be here right now, that God gave me a mother-in-law whom I love like she was my own mother.  Sometimes I forget she didn’t birth me herself.  I’m grateful that if my kids can only have one grandma right now, that God gave them the best one.

-I’m grateful for words and writing and having an outlet to express myself.  I’m grateful for books and for a mother who instilled in me a love of books.

-I’m grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the peace it brings me.  I’m grateful for the atonement and for the opportunity to repent of my mistakes.  I’m grateful for the love and grace of my Savior because I know that I’m so far from perfect I could never measure up.

I hope that I can continue to reflect on all my blessings, not just during the holiday season, but all year long.

5 years, Mom

 

Five years ago today we lost my mother to pancreatic cancer.  I can’t believe how swiftly the years have gone by.  She’s had two new grandchildren born since she’s been gone.  I was pregnant with my youngest son when she died and she promised to send me “the best one.”  I know that promise holds true for her new little granddaughter (our first niece on my side!), who is absolutely adorable and sweet and perfect.  I know she’s still watching over us, involved in our lives as a guardian angel, and is aware of all of our hurts, joys, failures and successes.  Even though I know her spirit is in a better place, a happier place, I can’t help to astutely feel her absence in our family moments.

On Sunday my new little niece was given a name and a blessing; her middle name is the same as my mom’s first name.  Oh how I wanted our Mom there in that moment.  She would have been bursting with pride and joy.  And yet, I know she was there with us.  Her Spirit was there and for a brief moment I felt it.  I’m so proud of my brother and what a wonderful daddy he is.  I know my Mom is proud of him too.  I just wish she was here with us in the flesh to watch all of her grandchildren grow up.  My daughter is the only one who really remembers her and I’m glad at least one grandchild has happy memories to share with the rest of them.

Five years is a long time to live without your mom.  My heart aches for all the motherless/fatherless children in the world no matter their age.  Having good parents who love you unconditionally and want the best for you is a blessing that should never be taken for granted.  In the last five years I’ve had to figure out who I am without the benefit of a mother to lean on.  I’ve had to endure a lot of hurt without a mom’s shoulder to cry on — the biggest hurt being her physical absence.  The hubs has been traveling a lot with his work the last year and every time I get overwhelmed with the responsibilities of being a mother of three and career woman and all that, all I want to do is call my Mom and cry and get sympathy and I can’t.  I think without my mother, I’ve had to become much stronger.  It’s a refiner’s fire I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

I’ve written so much in the last five years about my mother being gone.  It’s a defining moment in my life, but I don’t want it to be the only defining moment.  I had 29 years of life, love, and laughter with a wonderful woman as my mother and I’m trying, trying so hard, to concentrate on what I had and not dwell on what I don’t anymore.

So in tribute today of a wonderful woman I was lucky enough to call mother here are a few things you should know about her:

-She was hysterically funny.  She loved corny jokes and puns.  My sense of humor runs a little sarcastic and dry, but she was more of a ham, even inventing funny dances to make people laugh.  Whenever she was in a crowd of people, she made it her goal to make each person smile or laugh.

-She was a lover of books and of words.  I spent almost every Saturday of my childhood in a library because she always had two or three or more books checked out.  I never saw her without a book.  And one of my favorite things to do with her once I became a teenager and adult was share books with her.  We had our own private book club.  She was the best speller and grammatarian.  She used to say that back before computers when she was a secretary, “I was spellcheck!”  I owe my large vocabulary to my mother.  The hubs says I even use big words in my sleep.

-Her favorite color was yellow and her spirit totally embodied that color.

-She was enormously proud of her children and wanted nothing more than hordes of grandchildren.  Every time I talk with one of her old coworkers or friends they know so much about me and my siblings and it’s because she always talked about us.  I ran into one of her coworkers at Target a few months ago and she said that a day didn’t go by where my mother didn’t mention how proud she was of one of her children or grandchildren.

-As out-going as my mother was in groups, she was very much an introvert who preferred the company of her books to people.

-She was fiercely independent, raised us kids to be the same way, and whenever I hear my four year old say he wants to do something “himself,” I think of my mother and laugh.  Her independent spirit lives on in them.

-She and the hubs used to work a block away from each other and so they would carpool to work together (which really meant she drove him to work because she was too controlling to let someone else drive).  The seats in her cars had their own heaters and in the winter she would heat up his seat so by the time she got to our house his seat was nice and toasty.  It was a little thing, but it shows how considerate she was of others.

-She loved carnations and preferred a bouquet of them to roses any day.

-She was generous.  She always sent birthday cards and presents to people even when that thoughtfulness was never returned.  She and my dad helped out the hubs and I so much financially when we were first married there is no way I’d ever be able to repay them.  That was probably her alternative to us living with them 🙂

-She was extremely proud of her Danish heritage and her Mormon pioneer heritage.  A lot of our Christmas traditions are things my mother did with her Danish grandparents.  And there wasn’t a time where my mom heard the Mormon hymn, “Come, Come ye Saints” where she didn’t bawl her face off.

-She loved Elvis, which is pretty typical of a woman of her generation.  She took it a little far with all her Elvis memorabilia, even an Elvis Barbie doll.  I can’t listen to an Elvis song without thinking of her.

-She and my dad eloped after only knowing each other for 7 weeks.  She didn’t tell her parents until after the wedding.  She would have killed any of us had we done that, but my Mom was the kind of person who did things the way she wanted, when she wanted, and how she wanted.  And frankly, I’m very glad my parents were so impulsive because I wouldn’t be here!

There are so many things to be said and written, but most of all I want to say I’m thankful that I was given a mother like my Mom.  I’m thankful I had 29 years of her being an active parent in my life.  I’m thankful for the mother that she was.  I’m thankful for all the lessons she taught me, the example she was to me, and the unconditional love she always gave me.  I miss her.  Every day I miss her.  Every day I wish she was here, not just for me, but for me and siblings and our children.

I love you, Mom.  Until we meet again…

 

Mom in her 20s at her parent’s house at Christmas

 

 

My parents right after their wedding.  It’s my most favorite picture of my parents and it’s my screensaver.

 

 

My parents on their 25th Wedding Anniversary in 1996

 

My parents with my brother outside the Ogden temple right after he took out his endowments before his mission (2003).

 

My family after my brother’s missionary farewell (2003)

 

A few months after my brother came home from his mission (2006ish)