Thursday, May 16, 2013

March-April Newsletter & Slideshow

Here are the newsletter & slideshows for March and April. Please forgive the tardiness and please indulge me in the number of pictures - especially of Link. I hardly took any of him out of the slideshow. And there are a LOT!

FAMILY:  March was the most joyous and most devastating month our family has ever faced. On the 3rd, we had Link’s blessing. Family & friends came. Tiffany flew in from Minnesota. What a joyful, blessed time. Grandma Potts did a St. Patrick’s Day party for all the cousins. Heidi got to go birthday shopping with her mom & out to breakfast with her sisters. The blessing was beautiful and we had wonderful food and conversation at our home afterward. So much joy. The rest of the month was spent enjoying an extra day with Tiffany & Maddy, doing St. Patrick’s crafts, celebrating Heidi’s birthday, Jason had a business trip to Ogden for a week, playing outside, a family trip to the dentist (Everyone but Kezi had cavities L, playing at the park, having the Corrys over for Sunday dinner,  and just enjoying life. On March 26, 2013, Heidi went to wake Link from his nap and he had rolled over. When she picked him up, he was cold and limp and blue. The ambulance was called and they tried to revive him at the hospital, but it was too late and there was nothing they could do. He had returned home to his Heavenly Father. Our entire family was shocked and devastated. Neighbors helped. Family came. There were a lot of preparations to be made for his funeral. We are so grateful to all who came and supported us during this horrible time. Link’s funeral was on March 30. Family & friends came from all over. We felt everyone’s love and support. The talks, poems, and musical number were wonderful. Link was buried in the Cedar City Cemetery. There was such an outpouring of love for our family – cards, flowers, food, watching the girls, financial support, gifts, financial help, willow tree statues, a Yladro statue, books, messages, phone calls, paintings, etc. It was amazing to see the generosity of so many – we are truly, truly grateful. April was mostly spent recovering – surviving. Grandma Potts & Aunt Cindy and Michael & Joshua stayed a week after the funeral to help with the house & the girls. We are SO thankful for their help! We were having a media fast, so the girls had fun with Aunt Cindy doing a “tea party,” making a fairy house, doing crafts, etc. We also went to Zions National Park with the Edwards, Hamiltons, and Billy – Jason’s dad. The kids had a great time in the sand, hiking to a waterfall, and riding the shuttle. Jason & Heidi were able to go to a hotel in St. George for a couple days and spend a lot of time with each other and in the temple. On the 20th, we went to the Preparedness Fair in Cedar and got some good information and the girls got their faces painted.  Later that month, we took a trip to SLC. Jason went with his brother to the supercross competition and Heidi & the girls visited with the Simons and went to Scheels and the Living Planet Aquarium with the Edwards and uncle Joseph. We also had visits from the Matthews from Herriman, the Jacksons from Park City, Aunt Kim, and some visits from Grandma Devenish.   On the 19th, Tundra was acting like he was in severe pain. Whining constantly. We took him to the vet and he told us that his stomach had turned and he could do surgery, but Tundra probably wouldn’t survive it. We decided to go ahead and end his pain. Saying goodbye to our big boy was very difficult. He has been a part of this family for over 10 years. We buried him in our backyard and planted an evergreen over his grave. We feel his absence in our family and home as well and at the same time, we are so happy that he is free of pain and we believe he is enjoying wonderful carefree days with our son. We also miss Link so very much every day. He has left such a large, aching hole in our family. At the same time, though, we can absolutely testify of the goodness of God. We know Link is happy and well. We know he watches over our family. We are thankful every day for our knowledge of the plan of salvation. It has been the thing that has helped us survive – knowing we will see him again one day. We are so thankful for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We continued our tradition of opening Easter eggs with an item that goes with a scripture to tell about Jesus’ last week on earth and his resurrection – we were able to keep opening them – even on the night he died and the subsequent nights. Everything we read had much more meaning. Easter had a much, much deeper meaning this year as a family. The girls did get Easter baskets filled with wonderful things, but going to visit Link’s grave later that day gave us perspective and instilled in our hearts the true meaning of Easter. We talk about Link every day. We talk about what he would like to eat – if he’d be crawling by now. Kezia makes sure we NEVER forget to sing his goodnight song. We look at pictures and videos of him and we think of him often. We miss him and we feel his love. One other thing we have enjoyed the past couple months is watching the birds. We put out the bird feeder & they made a mess on the deck, but it was so fun to watch them as we ate meals. There were some really pretty ones with red heads.

 JASON:  Losing his only son was very difficult for Jason. He has been such a rock for every member of our family – but there are still times he breaks down and just misses his boy. Jason spoke at Link’s funeral and did a wonderful job sharing memories of our baby boy.  Jason’s work has supported our family so very much. They donated a bunch of money. They allowed him to work from his laptop as much as he needed the weeks after his funeral.  The blessing Jason gave Link at the beginning of March was beautiful. We were able to get some wonderful pictures with Jason and Link that day. Jason also had a business trip to Ogden the week after Link’s blessing and he was able to meet a lot of people. Then he came home & spent as much time as he could with the girls and with his baby boy. He was at the dentist the day he got the call about Link. He was in the middle of a root canal, but threw some gauze in his mouth and sped home. He gave Link a blessing and was able to comfort Heidi when we found out Link was gone. He has had a few spiritual experiences since Link died and cherishes them. He finds a lot of comfort and knowledge in the after-life books we’ve been reading. He has re-committed himself to family history so that he can assist his son in missionary work on this side.

 HEIDI: Heidi is still very much devastated over losing her precious baby boy. It was also such a physical loss – not being able to breastfeed him anymore. Not being able to hold him and have that physical mother-baby bond. She still struggles with a lot of grief, anger, guilt, and anguish. So very many tears. She has had some comforting dreams, though.  She’s listened to some wonderful songs and heard some great conference talks & scriptures that provide perspective and peace. She expresses most of her grief through writing – in her journal, in her journal to Link, and on her blog. She is bewildered at and so thankful for the sincere love and sympathy so many people have expressed.  She turned 34 this year on the 6th & since Jason was going to be gone on a business trip, he arranged a surprise party for her while her family was in town for Link’s blessing. It was wonderful. The girls made her birthday special and Heidi truly took the day off to sit by her fireplace, enjoy her children, and read a book. Jason also called and left a message on her cell phone with ALL the people at his business meeting, singing her happy birthday. It was really sweet. Her journey is still very much day-to-day, sometimes minute-to-minute. She’s started running again with Krista Corry and is so thankful for her friendship and that outlet. She’s also SO thankful that she’s been able to help her friend, Diane, who is very sick (pregnant) and also threw her back out. Helping her has been such a blessing – it’s helped her to get out of bed when she doesn’t feel like it. She’s so thankful for the love of her entire family – especially her sisters – and especially Cindy, who has called or texted every single day. She’s grateful for jewelry that helps her remember her baby boy. And pictures. And video. She has watched his slideshow many, many times. It is a hard, painful process to go through, but she hopes it will eventually bring her closer to her Savior, husband, family and son.

-McKinley cried a lot those first couple days after Link died. She was really a support and comfort to her mom. She stayed with her. Hugged her. Supported her. She cries when she watches the slideshow of her brother. She misses him. She doesn’t talk about him a whole lot, but she asks questions about when we will see him again. She also writes in her journal about him. She understands where he is and that he won’t be coming home soon. She loves her baby brother. Some other things McKinley did in March & April:
-McKinley had a dream where she went to a tea party and they were serving hamburgers.
-McKinley and mom finished The Little Princess in March. We both LOVED it and enjoyed reading it together.
-McKinley & daddy had a bit TOO much Super Mario Brothers in March. Mom had to finally put her foot down. Every free moment was asking if she could play Super Mario Brothers.
-McKinley did a surprise for the family one morning. She wouldn’t let anyone come in the kitchen, but when we could finally come it, McKinley was all dressed & ready for school with her hair brushed & breakfast was set out on the table. What a helper!!
-McKinley had some rough times in March – one day mom got a call that McKinley had hurt her foot at school. Apparently they were playing handstands and she came down too hard on her foot. She limped on it for a few days, but got better. She also had bad allergies in March and walked around with a tissue under her constantly running nose. In addition, she had strep throat and an ear infection. No fun!
-McKinley went to the dentist in March and had 4 cavities she had to have filled L
-In Primary singing time, the primary chorister was doing March Madness basketball. In the van on the way home, mom was telling dad about it. McKinley said “It’s not March Madness – it’s March Magnets!”
-The girls worked really hard on some coloring contest pages and one of the businesses we were going to take it to was Bulloch Drug. McKinley said “Do we ever go to Bulloch Drug? Well…. Probably not… cuz, you know – DRUGS.”
-McKinley had a very hard time when she got home from school and found out that Tundra was gone. We knew he might not be okay when she got home from school, so we encouraged her to spend some time with him that morning – and she did spend some precious time with him. She cried a lot when she came home. She picked flowers for him and put them on him in his grave. He was her buddy and friend and she will miss his companionship.
-McKinley earned a date with daddy and they went to see “The Croons” at the theater. She said they had a lot of fun & it was a cute movie.

-At first, Ireland didn’t seem affected when we told her about Link. We told her that he had gone back to heaven and was with Jesus and Heavenly Father. We told her that we would see him again when Jesus cam again and he was resurrected - and that seemed to be good enough for her. But as time wore on and her baby brother wasn’t resurrected yet, she started to really be naughty and show a lot of anger. When they were taking a bath in our bath, she got some of my pumped breastmilk and poured it into the tub – along with a box of sewing pins. She got eggs from the fridge and made a huge egg mess in their room. She took at bath in their hall bathroom sink. She poured birdseed on the ground in the garage and peed on it. She’s had accidents all over the house. She has had some very angry tantrums where she has hit and kicked & screamed & yelled – one of these massive tantrums was at Walmart. Ireland has started seeing her school consoler – and we think it has helped her. She hasn’t cried one tear that we’ve seen, though, and we think she’s really bottling everything up inside. She’s afraid to cry – and she just wants her brother back! Every night she prays that his body will come back alive. She was there when it happened – when the police and the ambulance came. We know it will take her a while to work through the anger & grief. She is a very physical person & always was touching him and wanting him to touch her. They had a special bond and we know it will continue to be difficult for her. Thankfully, though, Mrs. Ekker says she’s still doing fine in school and she seems to be fine with other people.
Some other things Ireland was up to in March and April:
-Mom was working with Ireland on her homework one day and the question was “What is the opposite of left?” Ireland thought for a moment & replied… “unleft?”
-Ireland now talks about marrying her cousin, Joshua, just like McKinley talked about marrying Michael. One day in the van, she told mom “I wish we could marry cousins. I’d marry Joshua!”
-One of the Easter eggs we opened as our family tradition talked about Jesus going to Jerusalem. Mom was trying to make sure Ireland was listening & said “Ireland – where did Jesus go?” Ireland said “to get the brass plates!”
-There was an altercation upstairs and mom heard screaming. She went up to investigate and both Ireland and Kezia were crying. Mom asked Ireland what happened & Ireland said “She was hitting me with the horse and I pushed her! And… we were breaking each other’s feelings.”
-In March, Ireland started saying “Baby Alert! Cuteness Alert!” whenever she was around Link.
-For Ireland’s date in April, she went swimming with dad.
-Ireland had strep throat (again) the weekend of conference. Dad had to take her to Instacare, but she was able to get some medicine & not miss school.
-One day in the van, Ireland said “Dad – if you were a kid, which cousin would you pick to marry?” But no matter how much we prodded him, dad only said he would pick mommy & no one else J
-Ireland had a cavity and had to get it filled, but was super-brave and didn’t cry at all!

-Kezia still doesn’t really understand that Link isn’t coming home any time soon. She still sees shoes in the store & says “let’s buy this for Link for when he comes back!” or “When Link comes back, he’ll get to have his Easter basket!” She was also at home when the ambulance and police came and she still talks about Link’s blue face. She also keeps saying “mom – I told you if you put him to sleep, he would die!” She has been Ireland’s partner in crime in being VERY naughty. She keeps having accidents and she’s been waking up 2 or 3 times a night. She’s also been telling people “My brother died!” or “Link’s in Jesus Christ.” We know she misses him. Sometimes mom will see her look out the window and whisper “Link – come back from Jesus. Link – come back to mommy, Link.” She realizes the hole that is there in the mornings and will say “It used to be mommy, Kezia & Link in the mornings, but now it’s just mommy and Kezia.”
Some other things Kezia has said or done in March & April:
-Kezia was given one of the “mystery” dum dum suckers. She said “Mom – this sucker tastes like a question mark… and an apple.”
-Kezia has been big on baths lately. If she ever discovers her feet are dirty, she says “I need to take a bath, mom! My feet are dirty!”
-She was talking to daddy on the phone one day and then came up to mom with a grumpy face and said “Mooom! Dad uncalled!”
-Kezia has been Ireland’s partner in crime in making huge messes the past couple months. Pins in the bathtub. A huge birdseed mess. And one day, Kezia & Ireland decided to put their hands in the peanut butter and rub it all over themselves and the walls.
-Kezia was asked to give the prayer in primary. Mom went up to help her, but she said she could do it all by herself – and she did a great job!
-Kezia says she’s going to marry Jaxon Bealer (at least she’s the only one not wanting to marry her cousin!)
 -She had her first official trip to the dentist and she did great!
-When Kezia wants to find Ireland, she says “Ireland L-A-N-D! Where are you?”
-Whenever we have treats during the day, Kezia ALWAYS makes sure we save one for daddy. And it doesn’t even have to be sweet. She will run and put a cracker, or an orange, or a cookie right by his bed for when he gets home.”

Oh – our precious baby boy! We miss you SO very much! On March 26, 2013, during naptime, you rolled over in your crib and were face-down when mommy found you. You left this mortal world behind – along with a lot of broken hearts. You have left an enormous, aching hole in our family. We talk of you every day. We miss you every minute. Losing you will be something that will define and motivate our family forever! We have already felt your missionary efforts on the other side and we pray that they will continue and that we will help move them along. SO many people here love you and miss you. They have shared their memories. They have shared their love for you. You have touched so many, many lives. Your funeral was beautiful. Everyone talked about how beautiful you were in your little white casket. I know your body was beautiful, but it was SO much more beautiful with your spirit inside! We pray that you will continue to touch our lives – be there for us – watch over us. WE LOVE YOU! You will continue to be included in our newsletters every month. Even if it’s just to say how much we miss you & love you. Or times we’ve thought of you. Or things we’ve done that have helped remind us of you. You will ALWAYS be a part of this family. We love you.
Here are some things Link was doing before he died on March 26:
-On March 3, Linkin was given a name and a blessing. His father talked about the power of the priesthood, the gift of discernment, the gift of charity, and he also talked about serving a mission and marrying an eternal companion. We have faith that all these blessings will be fulfilled on the other side. It was a beautiful day all-around. Mom cried when she dressed Link in his blessing outfit- complete with a tiny bow tie. He was just SO handsome!! Family came from far & wide (Aunt Tiffany even came from Minnesota) to see our miracle baby & celebrate his entrance into this world and the fact that he was home & healthy. Lots of people got to hold Link and kiss his adorable cheeks. We got lots of wonderful, precious pictures that day. What an amazing blessing.
-Link continued to get better and better with his hands. He was grabbing his toes. He was to the point where it was dangerous to having him on your lap or in the Bumbo at the table because he would grab anything he could reach. One time he grabbed mom’s malt-o-meal breakfast & got it all over his hands! Good thing mom cleaned him off before he could get it in his mouth! He also knocked over the sugar and a cup of water. He was also getting really good at pulling his cow on his seat. He could make the music go and at the end, he was just pulling it right off.
-His tummy was also getting strong & when we would put him under the jungle gym, instead of hitting the hanging parts with his hands, he would scoot & kick them with his feet really hard.
-We were really working on tummy time with him the month before he died. He was getting a really strong neck and if you put him on his tummy with his arms under him, he would lift up and roll over.
-Link had his 4-month appointment on March 20. His weight was a bit down, but overall, he was truly healthy and perfect.  He was meeting all the milestones. The doctor asked a specialist to look at his birthmark just to make sure it was okay. He came in and wanted to see the “miracle baby” – he said his birthmark was fine, but something he would have his whole life.
- We started the “cry it out” method with Link – and would go & check on him at increments. He had a hard time for a few days, but was actually doing really well by the end – he would sleep till 5:30am.
-Link was starting to really like watching Baby Einstein and Baby Signing Time. He would sit through almost the whole 30 minutes before getting fussy.
-Link brought smiles and joy to our family EVERY DAY. He was really smiling and laughing so good. His daddy would always get a huge smile from him when he got home – and he knew just the tickle spot to make him giggle & giggle. His sisters loved to hold him & McKinley would walk around with him & Ireland would just move his little chair wherever he wanted to go.
-Link tried rice cereal for the first time in April. We tried mixing it with warm breastmilk, but he never really took to it. He would get fussy and spit most of it out.
-Link was finally able to go to church with us for 3 precious weeks. He looked SO handsome in his church outfit – white onesie collared shirt, black pant, and a grey/black vest.  It was so fun to take him and show him off. Jason took him for 2 of the weeks and was able to cuddle him & get him to sleep. Mom was able to take him to primary one week. He was SO good. He sat & listened to the kids sing and Ireland would look over & smile at him – and he was a bit distracting to the other kids as well. They kept looking at him and some would say “Your baby is so cute!”
-The autopsy report did not show that Link had any health problems. He was just called home & we sure miss him at his earthly home.

1 comment:

Ryan and Shannan Hoffman said...

I looked at every one of your pictures... beautiful and heartbreaking at the saime time. The pain in your face... I wish I could just come give you a big hug. I love that you will include Link in all of your updates. What a beautiful, precious baby boy. And what a beautiful, amazing person you are. Love you Heidi.