Husband and Father

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

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Disneyland and California Adventure 2009

The Flight

Katelyn gets a little nervous flying. She took extra precautions studying the airlines emergency prepardness pamphlet. It was a little bumpy, but with a few, (well maybe a lot) of distractions she made it through.

California Adventure
Our first stop was California Adventure. The older kid's favorite rides were Tower of Terror, Screamin', and Soaring. I agree, my favs were Screamin' and Soaring, but not Tower of Terror. Ben, Lindsey, and I spent time in Bug's Life, and Monsters Inc. while the others were on the more advanced rides.

Molly was concerned about our physcial well being, so she wore a pedometer to make sure we walked at least 12 miles a day. If we didn't clock over 12 miles, she made us do aerobics in her hotel room (just kidding Molly).

Ben loved the characters at California Adventure, as long as he didn't have to stand in a line to see them.


Walking Right Down The Middle Of Main Street USA

The Entrance to "The Happiest Place On Earth".

Ben loved Tom Sawyer's Island. He explored everything there.

Toon Town Fun

The famous Disneyland Castle

Joy Riding in Birtha

Califonia Adventure

Bugs Life, Toone Town, and fun at the hotel.

The tea cups, lounging at the hotel, and friends

There is truly something magical about Disneyland. It seems to take away the stresses of ordinary life, and helps you escape your worries. Wherever you go at Disneyland, the workers are so helpful, cheerful, and kind. They make you feel like they were really happy to help you.

Ben got teased by his siblings for going on any rides in Fantasy Land (or Fairy Land as my kids called it). I had to remind them that when they were six they were writing notes to Minnie Mouse, and never adventured out of Fantasy Land. Poor Ben, he has to grow up too fast. He was a trooper and went on several of the "scarey rides". The kids almost tricked him into going on Space Mountain, but he is too smart to be tricked.

We had a great time spending time with Molly, Megan, Luke, and Lindsey. We arrived at Disneyland when it opened and stay until it closed for 3 days straight. At night we had co-joining hotel rooms where the kids could run back and forth playing cards and having fun.

Some of our favorites:

Meagan: Favorite memory was being with her family. Favorite ride was Indiana Jones. Funniest memory was the "incident" in Mickey's House.

Sarah: Favorite memory was going to Fantasmic (the light show). Favorite ride was Screamin'. Funniest memory was getting stuck on Streamin' and having to climb down.

Katelyn: Favorite memory was the "snake incident" in Papa Joe's. Favorite ride was Space Mountain. Her funniest memory was having her car's picture deleted every time on Splash Mountain for funny faces (or something like that).

Mike: Favorite memory was getting stuck on screamin'. Favorite ride was Pirates of the Caribbean. Funniest memory was trying to trick Ben into going on Space Mountain by telling him it was Galaxy Quest, only to find out that Ben can read.

Lizzy: Favorite memory was being forced to go on Tower of Terror. Favorite ride was Tower of Terror. Funniest memory was joy riding in Birtha.

Ben: Favorite memory was the funny girl at the end of Monsters Inc. that told him, "next time bring me a churro." His favorite ride was Indiana Jones. I think it was Pirates of the Caribbean since we went on that ride at least 10 times and Indiana Jones once. His funniest memory was the artwork at Bucca Di Peppos.

My favorite rides were Screamin' and Soaring. My favorite memory was having a wonderful time with my family and great friends, and listening to my children's laughter. There is nothing that gives me more joy than to know my children are happy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Six Months

Today is a sad day. My heart breaks as I watch my children try to find peace with such unpleasantness. So much has happened in these past six months. I look back and can't believe what our family has been through. I thought that if you experienced the most tragic event in your life, the loss of a loved one, that you would get a rest from other trials. I guess one thing I have learned is that we are not completely in charge of our destiny. Things happen that we have no control over. We have to believe and trust in a bigger plan.

In the book The Gateway We call Death, it states, "The separation imposed by the departure of a loved one evokes pangs of sorrow and shock among those we left behind. The hurt is real. Only its intensity varies. Even though we understand the doctrine - even though we dearly love God and his eternal plan - mourning remains. Mourning is one of the purest expressions of deep love.

I guess when you love someone a lot, mourning is more intense. We love and miss Steve dearly, and think about him every day.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Headstones and Wedding Dresses

I am so excited for my first daughter to get married. She is so happy, and has made such a great choice to marry the man she loves for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake Temple. She is such a beautiful, spirtitual, compassionate person. She will have an amazing life with Quinn.

We have spent hours and hours searching for the perfect wedding dress. Her sisters and I have watched as she has tried on dress after dress. I think she looks beautiful in them all, but we finally found the one, the perfect one for her. She looks gorgeous!

Meagan and I have talked about the excitement and the saddness that surrounds her wedding. I want her wedding day to be filled with happiness and joy, and for it to be perfect in every way. Many plans have been made to make it that wonderful, special day that she will remember forever.

There is an overshadowing presence of saddness as we make wedding plans. It will be less than 8 months since Steve passed away when Meagan has her wedding. My heart is filled with joy for my daughter, but saddness that her dad won't physically be with us on her wedding day. We know he will be there in spirit, he would never miss her wedding, but it is difficult to imagine a day like this without the physical presence of her dad and my husband.

This weekend we have been looking at options for a headstone for Steve's grave. It seems like a contradiction that we need to make two decisions one beautiful and positive, and the other respectful but sad. It has been difficult trying to find the right headstone to honor him.

I never imagined I would be choosing my husband's headstone, and my daughter's wedding dress all at the same time. Somehow we will find peace with it. I know Steve will be with us, watching over us.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Expressions of Love

Tonight at my grieving class we talked about the differences of a sudden death verses a more expected death. We discussed our feelings of not being able to have closure and say good bye with a sudden death. I am quite surprised about my feelings. They are quite different then what I thought I might feel. I thought I would have unsettled feelings, and feel as if Steve will never know how I felt about him.

Steve's passing was the greatest tradegy I have ever experienced and probably ever will experience in my lifetime. I can't describe the shock, the saddness, and the grief I felt and am still feeling. His passing was so sudden, so unexpected. There was no time to say good-bye, I love you, and to express my deep feelings for him. I remember when he passed and we were asked to say good-bye. I really was at a loss for words. Not because there was nothing to say, but because once your spirit leaves your body, the person has truly moved on to another sphere. You can feel it. You know it in your heart.

I knew that Steve knew how much I loved him and that he loved me. I also knew that we had shared an amazing life together. We had experienced true joy in life together, and in raising our six children. If there were ever hurt feelings or things we regreted, that they were forgiven.

I feel that Steve is near us. He knows of our sorrow and grief. I know he wishes he could comfort us and take away our pain. He knows how much we adore him and want to honor him and the legacy he left. Although I wasn't able to express to Steve my true feelings moments before he passed on, I know he knows them, and I am happy we had a wonderful life together.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Meagan's Engaged!

Here's the best picture we could get of the ring. I know it's not on my finger, but pictures really don't do it justice anyway, you have to see it in person!

Hey everybody it's Meagan and yes, I got engaged tonight! Quinn finally popped the question after weeks of convincing people that we weren't even close to getting engaged. We had a temple date set already for May 16th in the Salt Lake Temple, and decided that even though we weren't officially engaged that we needed to start looking at reception places since Valentines Day was right around the corner and May is such a popular month to get married. So, today I came up from Provo so Quinn, my mom, and I could go look at a bunch of reception places. I decided I'd just stay up in Bountiful for the night and so Quinn and I hung out all day. I knew he had the ring because we had picked it out the Thursday before and the salesman informed us that it would be ready no later than Tuesday, but I had no idea when he was actually going to propose.

We were at my house watching American Idol and the Office when we received a phone call from Quinn's little brother Austin around 9:30 asking us if we wanted to go hot tubing at Quinn's other brother Curtis's clubhouse, a place we very frequently visit. I of coarse agreed because I'm always up for hot tubing, especially on a cold night. I quickly gathered up all my stuff and we headed down there.

Well, we get there and his brother Curtis came out to open the door for us because they keep it locked and informed us that everyone was upstairs watching TV. Quinn and I headed upstairs to see what everyone was up to and as soon as I rounded the corner and was shocked at what I saw. I walked into a candlelit room with rose petals covering the ground and a cute table in the middle with decorations, sparkling cider, and a sign that said "12 Reasons Why I love Meagan". I looked down and a dozen roses were laying on the floor and each of them had a reason he loves me written on it. I immediately began reading the notes on each of the roses 1 through 11 and when I got to number 12 I saw that it was blank. I turned around and Quinn was on one knee and he asked me to marry him. I of coarse said yes and he proceeded to slip the most gorgeous ring ever on my finger. We then just sat in the room and drank cider and talked for a bit, it was perfect and so cute!

I am so excited to be marrying such an amazing man! He has been there for me through so much and treats me like a princess. I couldn't see myself with anyone else and I am so excited to be able to spend forever with him!

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Great Reunion

I just learned of Bishop Pilkington's passing this morning. It brought about a lot of unsettled emotions for me. Steve served in the Mueller Park 5th Ward bishopbric with Bishop Pilkington. He talked about him often. He admired his kindness, loving nature, tenderness, his strong testimony of the gospel, his example, and love of the gospel. I remember when Steve became bishop after him, how he was grateful for what he had learned from Bishop Pilkington. He taught him how to be a good bishop. Steve always spent extra time as a counselor with him, learning as much as he could from such a great man.

I am wondering today about the reunion in heaven. I am sure it is a glorious one. I am beginging to wonder why two men that served as bishops one right after the other have been taken from this earth. I believe that there is a great work that is needed in heaven. Heavenly Father must need some of his strongest servants to fulfil his devine work.

My heart breaks for his dear wife. I know our feelings and pain during this time are unique and individual, but I feel for the great loss she is experiencing. It is so difficult to loose your companion, your children's father, and an extraordinary man. My love goes out to her and her family.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tender Mercies

I have been attending classes sponsored by the Caring Connection at the University of Utah for a few weeks now. This is a group that gets together once a week to talk about the grieving process specifically for the loss of a spouse. Tonight we discussed the possibility of our spouses knowing their fate before it happened. I shared with them my experience this summer. This summer has been unique and very special. For some reason we went on more family vacations then we have ever gone on before. We spent a week at a cabin, several days at Flaming Gorge, and a week at Newport Beach. In the past we have vacationed with family or friends, but this summer we spent with just our family.

Our week at the cabin was wonderful. We spent time bike riding, four wheeling, boating, hot tubbing, watching the animals, playing games together, watching movies, and going on walks. Steve loves the outdoors, and was especially fond of the Hawker's cabin. We spent our 22nd wedding anniversary at the cabin. We had the kids tend while we went to Park City to a wonderful dinner at Chez Bette's. We spent time laughing, talking, and reminiscing about the past. Steve had a keen memory of the past. He had me laughing so hard over something he claims I did and I have no recollection of doing. I'm still not sure what is true.

Flaming Gorge was one of Steve's favorite places. He grew up going there each year with his family. They camped, made great dutch oven meals, fished, ran the Green River, and waterskied. This year our family went to Flaming Gorge alone. The weather was goregous, and kids waterskied, and tubbed, til their hearts content. Steve celebrated his 50th birthday there. Life seemed so bliss. Steve and I talked about how wonderful life was. He told me that this would be the last time our family would be together. Frightened by that comment I asked him what he meant. He said, "Meagan may get married and things will never be the same."

Newport Beach was another amazing trip. There was almost an eerie clam about the trip. I can't quite explain it. Steve seemed different. He was always a wonderful person, but this trip he wanted to do the things that I loved to do. In the morning Steve would go bike riding with me, he would boogie board with the kids at the beach, and take them wherever they wanted to go. One night after dinner the older girls wanted to shop. He said, "you girls go shop, I'll take the boys to the park." He NEVER encouraged us to shop. Another evening he asked the kids if they wanted to go to Balboa. He never liked going to Balboa and would always find an excuse not to go. I love the quaint little shops, the fun rides, and the atmosphere. We spent the evening on rides, looking through the shops and walking along the pier. We celebrated Ben's 6th birthday our last day at Newport Beach.

We arrived home the night before we took Sarah to college at USU. Steve wanted to take Sarah to school himself, but I insisted that we should do it together. Before we left to take Sarah to school, Steve gave her a beautiful blessing. On the way up to Logan he counseled her about making good life choices, and to remember how important it was to study and get good grades. He had the most amazing way of counseling the kids. He then pulled out a pink lap top computer. I couldn't believe my eyes. Sarah had asked for a pink lap top. I told her to be grateful for a lap top period.

That night was his Dad's birthday. We had to split up again. I went with Katelyn to a Seminary Fireside, and Steve went to his Dad's party. I wasn't at the party but I read on my nieces blog about the party. The thing that touched me the most was when she talked about Steve's conversation with Meagan that night. It reads: "Steve was talking with Meagan and Meagan was saying how much her mom was crying when they took Sarah to college and how she didn't cry as much when Meagan went two years ago. Steve said, "You're mom is crying because she is becoming more aware that everything is about to change forever, two kids are now in college, Ben is starting kindergarten, and you could be getting married soon, she jsut knows her life is about to totally change."

I never knew about this conversation until I read Katie's blog tonight. My daughter Meagan called and told me to read it. I thought how similar it was to what we had been discussing at our meeting tonight and what I had been experiencing the summer of '08.

I believe Steve was prompted by the spirit to do certain things before he left. I keep wondering if I would have changed anything the week before. We had such a great time together as a family. We have fond memories that we will cherish forever.

I believe in tender mercies. I love what Elder Bednar says about tender mercies, "We should not underestimate or overlook the power of the Lord's tender mercies. the simpleness, the sweetness, and the constancy of the tender mercies of the Lord will do much to fortify and profect us in the trouble times in which we do now and will yet live. When words cannot provide the solace we need or express the joy we feel, when it is futile to attempt to explain that which is unexplainable, when logic and reason cannot yield adequate understanding about the injustices and inequities of life, when mortal experience and evaluation are insufficient to produce a desire outcome, and when it seems that perhaps we are totally alone, truly we are blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord ."