Husband and Father

Husband and Father
July 15, 1958 ~ August 25, 2008

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Five Months

It has been 5 months today since Steve passed away. I keep thinking that I should be further along in the grieving process. There hasn't been a day that has gone by without shedding tears for my great loss, and the loss of my children. I guess the fact that some days I don't cry as much as others should be a good sign.

There is a Chinese proverb that states, "The man who moved mountains began by carrying away small stones." It is hard to pick up the pieces and try to begin to heal and rebuild your life. I suppose we have to work on it one day, one hour, or one moment at a time.

"I think these difficult times have helped me to understand better than before how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way and that so many things that one goes around worrying about are of no importance whatsoever.".... Isak Dinesen

It is in true sorrow that we begin to learn to cherish the little things in life. I cherish the great memories we have, my children's laughter, and the great times that we have had together. I cherish strengthened friendships, and family relations. I am truly blessed.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Special Projects

I thought it would be helpful for others if I posted some of the projects I (and my friends) have worked on. It may help someone else who is grieving the loss of a loved one. It's hard to find the perfect way to cherish the memories of the one who has gone. Below are a few projects that we completed.








I asked each one of my kids to select a few things of their dad's that were special to them. My friend, Michelle Lalli, took the items they selected, along with dried flowers from the funeral and arranged them beautifully in the shadow boxes.

My friend Amy Jacobsen took me on outings to find the perfect project for the pressed flowers. We found the exact arrangement that we wanted to copy. We gathered the materials and got busy. We took two pieces of glass, arranged the flowers between them, put vinyl words, Nearer My God To Thee, which was the closing song at Steve's funeral, tapped up the sides and put them in frames. We made 17 for my kids, some of Steve's friends, and his siblings.

The dried flower arrangements were made by Back Door Gifts.

My friend Becky Parry helped me make this special book. Pictures are downloaded from the computer to My Publishers, you write and design the book how you want, download it to them, and they send it to you. This is one of my kids favorite things to look through. Lots of good memories.

Jon reading Tyli Steve's Book

The kids with their pillows

Jodi made individual pillows for each of the kids. They had pictures of each child with their dad on the pillows. They are adorable!

Christmas 2008


The Best Christmas Gift

Michael with Mentos and soda

Santa came with lots of fun toys. Ben and Lizzy got motorized toys. They are so excited to try out their new rides. Michael was happy with his X-Box, Katelyn loved her new phone, and Sarah and Meagan looked beautiful in their new clothes.

Our family tradition is to have brunch after Santa comes. Jodi, Jon, Maddi and Tyli come, as well as Grandma and Grandpa Brown. There is lots of great food. Grandma always helps with her famous ableskibers. Yum!

The kids were a little disappointed when Santa didn't bring the puppy that they wanted. Little did they know the puppy was coming "special delivery". She seemed to be a perfect distraction for a difficult day. Around 11:30 the doorbell range, when the kids answered the door, their was a stocking on the doorstep with the cutest puppy ever in it. The kids were screaming, they were so excited.

Christmas Eve 2008

Scott and Connie's Party
(Meagan was working)

Dancing Around the Christmas Tree With the Brown's

Christmas is usually one of my favorite times of the year. I love the smells of Christmas, the decorations, the traditions, fun activities, and being with family and friends. I love the spirit of Christmas, and the remembrance of the true meaning of Christmas.

I didn't realize how difficult Christmas was going to be without Steve. I miss him in so many ways. I miss the laughter that surrounded him, the funny faces, his thoughtfulness, his spirituality, and much more. Although I felt Christmas should probably be cancelled, it was very important for my kids to continue with the usual traditions.

One of our family traditions is to spend Christmas Eve with my family and Steve's family. My family had a great party at Scott and Connie's house. We had wonderful food and fun. The kids loved sledding down the huge hill in their backyard with their cousins (and some of the brave uncles). We then opened presents, visited, and had dessert.
The Brown side of the family has Danish traditions. They dance around the Christmas tree and sing Christmas carols. They have a danish song that they sing while they dance and clap. Steve, used to make that song extra fun. I missed that so much. Then we open presents from Grandparents and cousins.

This year I made gifts for Steve's siblings and parents. I wanted to give them things to remember Steve. I gave the siblings framed pressed flowers from Steve's funeral with the closing song sang at his funeral in vinyl at the bottom. I gave his parents a book with photos of Steve and our family, a dried flower arrangement, a shadow box with special things of Steve's in it, and a DVD. It was difficult for all of us as they opened the gifts and we remembered Steve. Lots of tears were shed, and tender feelings shared.

When we got home I decided to give my kids the things I had made for them. Before I gave them the gifts I had them watch a short DVD on the birth and life of Christ, read them a poem, and talked with them. It was a real tender moment.

I won't share everything, but this is the poem I read them:

I'm Spending Christmas in Heaven This Year

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below
With tiny light, like heaven's stars reflecting on the snow.

The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away a tear
For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear
But earthly music can't compare with the Christmas choir up here.

I know how much you miss me, for I feel your breaking heart...
But through your memories so dear, we're never far apart.

I can't tell you of the splendor or the peace here in this place
Can you just imagine Christmas with our Savior face-to-face?

I'll ask Him to light your spirit as I tell Him of your love
So then pray for one another as you life your eyes above..

Please let your heart be joyful & let your spirits sing
For I'm spending Christmas in heaven, & I'm walking with our King.

I gave them each a wooden box with letters from the First Presidency, The Stake Presidency, and his Patriarchal Blessing. Also in the box was the audio from his funeral, and a DVD from the viewing. This box is to put all the notes and letters that each of them got from their friends and family.

I also gave them the same book I gave the grandparents with photos of their dad with each one of them. Each one got framed pressed flowers from the funeral as well as a beautiful shadow box.

Although my heart is breaking with this tremendous loss, I find comfort in the sweet memories we have of Steve and knowing that he is spending Christmas this year with our Savior.

Grandma Brown's Christmas Party

Steve's parents always have a Christmas party before Christmas with all Steve's siblings and their children. We have dinner, and then go downstairs and sing Christmas carols until Santa arrives. It is very exciting! Santa brings each child a gift, and has a big book of the nice things the kids have done throughout the year. He also asks each child what they want for Christmas. This year each one of my kids said the same thing, a puppy.

Rembering Steve

During the month of December we took a tree to Steve's grave. We brought it with a few decorations on it. It was fun to see other decorations appear during the month. There were wooden stars left with messages on them from his sister Leslie and her kids. It was a way for us to remember Steve during the holidays.

Steve would have been so proud of his runnin' Utes this season. He would have gone to every game, wearing his red, cheering as loud as he could, and probably getting into mischief. The kids went instead. We only have 4 seats, so sometimes, it was quite the discussion as to who was going to the game and who had to stay home. We hope that maybe Steve had a better seat this year while he watched his Utes.

Utah Football 13-0

Our family loves the runnin' Utes! We have particular enjoyed this year's football season. The Utes were 13-0.

Mike Wright is in our ward and wears number 20 for the Utah football team. A couple weeks before the Sugar Bowl, Ben wrote Mike a note at church. It said, "The Utes rock! Good luck at the Sugar Bowl". That Thursday there was a knock at our door and it was Mike Wright with a signed football for our family, well mainly for Ben. Ben was so excited! He ran and changed into a Utah jersey to get his picture taken with Mike.

Gingerbread Houses With The Ashton's

The Ashton's invited us over to decorate gingerbread houses with them. Their family does this every year. We had dinner, dessert, and began the contest. There were 3 teams decorating the houses. Team one had a Utah Football theme (I think Ben had something to do with that). They got the creative award. Team 2 got the best effort award. Katelyn got kicked off the team for eating all the candy. They were inexperienced, but did a great job! Team 3 (not in a photo, oops) won for the best decorated and cutest gingerbread house of all. We think that the school teacher on their team had prepared drawings the night before. We had a great time together.

Ben, Brett, Abby, Emily and Lizzy

Team #1
The Utah Football Gingerbread House

Team #2
Meagan, Sarah, Katelyn and Michael

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bye, Bye, Black Jack

It was a bitter sweet to see Black Jack go. Black Jack was needed at a particular time in our lives. He was needed to provide comfort to my children. He difinately served his purposed. He was so sweet and cuddley. What a kind gesture for Dave to let us keep Black Jack,(who was one of his prized, pure bread bunnies), during this time.

Several weeks ago, I heard howling in the backyard. I thought it was a dog and opened the door to find a coyote ready to make Black Jack his dinner. I started screaming and he ran away. Black Jack was saved! Since this experience, I felt Black Jack should go back to his friends and family. I am sure he is happy being reunited with his fellow bunny mates. I know Dave was happy to see Black Jack.

We will miss Black Jack, but are happy for him!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sarah's 19th Birthday

Sarah at the Cheesecake Factory.

Beautiful quilt!

Cheerleading book.


Sarah's birthday is December 20th. I remember bringing her home from the hospital in a Christmas stocking, dressing her in a Christmas outfit with a Christmas tree on the behind. She surprised us, by coming a little early. She was the best Christmas present!

For her birthday this year just Sarah and I went to lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. It was one of the busiest shopping days before Christmas. It was crazy! Yes, we did go shopping anyway.
She got a beautiful quilt that my friend Jenni Peterson made her. Jenni and I usually make these quilts for the girls before they go off to school. Since, Steve died on the first day of school, Jenni decided to make it for me. What a sweetheart!

Sarah also got a cheerleading book that my friend Kim Geurts made for her. She was going to show me how to make it, but I got behind so Kim and her daughter made it for me. Kim's daughter Kaylee used to cheerlead with Sarah, so she was very helpful.

On our shopping spree, Sarah picked out some boots, and jeans. On the way home I began to cry. The kids are used to me crying by now. Sarah asked what was wrong and I told her that I wished her dad was here to spend her birthday with her. It makes me sad that he is not here to celebrate these special times with the kids.

Lizzy's 10th Birthday.

Lizzy wanted a "cooking" birthday party this year. How fun! We started by decorating chef hats and aprons. The girls were very creative, and colorful. Once we were dressed to cook, my friend Si Foster taught them how to make Calzones. Si is one of the best cooks I know. After each girl made their very own calzone, I had them decorate Lizzy's birthday cake that I had made. What a party! We managed with very few mishaps.. smoke alarms raging, permanent marker on clothes ...but had a great time. The party favor was a roll of cookie dough with a cute cookie cutter attached. Phew!

Lizzy 10 years old

Happy birthday!

Lizzy busy at work making her calzone.

Si instructing 11 girls.

Party girls.

The cutest of them all.

The final stage.

Cutest toes!

Ticklish Lizzy.

The actual day of Lizzy's birthday (December 3rd), I let her miss a half day of school to get pampered. She chose to get a professional pedicure and manicure. She was so fun to watch, and had a great time. After that our family went to dinner at Firehouse Pizza. We met Jodi, Jon, and girls there. It was a real party!

Festival of Trees

The employees at The Summit Group did an incredible job on Steve's tree at the Festival of Trees. Many thanks to the kind employees who put a lot of time, effort, money, and thought into his tree. The theme was, "Let Heaven and Nature Sing". The note on the back talked about how they wanted to honor one of their hero's in the Festival of Trees. It was a great tribute to Steve.

It was a bitter sweet for our family. We loved the treee, and we loved the way in which it represented Steve. However, it was really difficult to walk through isles of trees reading the stories of men, women, husband, wives, and children that have died. It did make me realize that there are other people out there with similiar situation like mine that are mourning the loss of a loved one. Sometimes you feel like no one understands your emotions, and feelings. I am sure there are others that do.

Jodi and Jon Fulks and their cute girls came with us. We tried to make it a more pleasant adventure by letting the little kids do crafts, and get in the "bubble machine". The bubble machine was probably the greatest hit.

A niece of mine sent me a poem that sums up a lot of my feelings. It is as follows:

Please be gentle with me for I am grieving,
The sea I swim in is a lonely one,
And the shore seems miles away,
Waves of despair numb my soul,
As I struggle through each day,
My heart is heavy with sorrow,
I want to shout and scream,
And repeatedly ask why?
At times, my grief overwhelms me,
And I weep bitterly,
So great is my loss,
Please don't turn away or tell me to move on with my life,
I must embrace my pain before I can begin to heal,
Companion me through tears,
And sit with me in loving silence,
Honor where I am in my journey,
Not where you think I should be,
Listen patiently to my story,
I may need to tell it over and over again,
It's how I begin to grasp the enormity of my loss,
Nuture me through the weeks and months ahead,
Forgive me when I seem distant and inconsolable,
A small flame still burns within my heart,
And shared memories may trigger both laughter and tears,
I need your support and understanding,
There is no right or wrong way to grieve,
I must find my own path,
Please will you walk beside me? By: Jill B. Englar

Thanksgiving at Aunt Michelle's 2008

Aunts, uncles, and lots of cousins.

The Ping Pong Tourney

Even mom got involved.

The two kindgergartener's in a play off.

Cousin time.

Games, homemade candy, and treats, a Thanksgiving must.

Sarah and Noah.

Lovin' babies!

The Brown table.

Jordan and Ben. Cute cousins!
Thanksgiving is a time of gratitute and thankfulness. This year the holidays are especially hard for our family. We have struggled with the loss of Steve. It is very noticeable at every holiday, party, or event, that he is not here anymore. Steve was the type of person that added a spark to the party. He loved life, and with his quick wit, and great sense of humor, made everything we did a lot more fun. We miss him so much. At times it seems unbearable.

We are grateful for the memories we have with him. We are grateful that we got to spend as much time with him as we did. Steve did everything fast paced, so we feel we really got double time with him.

We are also grateful for our wonderful friends and family. We are blessed to have such great love and support by all. We know we can't do this alone, so we depend on our great friends and family.

I am grateful to have 6 wonderful children. What a blessing and strength they are in my life. They are amazing children with strong testimonies. I am grateful for the Savior who comforts us, buoys us up, and eases our burdens. Our family is especially gratiful for the Plan of Salvation. That brings us great peace.