Husband and Father

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

Monday, August 24, 2009

Heart Wrenching

One year ago today, my husband passed away. The only way to describe this day is heart wrenching. I feel like my heart is broke in a million little pieces. I thought I would have made significant progress with grieving after one year, but I guess instead I've learned that grieving will never end. Hopefully, I will learn to manage it. Time is my friend, but it will never completely heal my pain.

I can vividly remember the details of the night Steve passed away. This past month has been filled with memories of that day. Sometimes it is something I wear, certain smells, music, driving past the hospital, or an ambulance driving down the street. I will never forget the sheer terror of that night. I am grateful to all our friends and family that helped us through such difficult times.

I am fortunate to have a belief and understanding of the gospel. It brightens the darker days, and gives me hope for a better tomorrow. I love the scripture, "Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many: but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days." I know my Heavenly Father is watching over us, and is there to give us comfort and peace.

I also know Steve is still with us. There have been times when we have felt his presence so strongly. We have woke in the middle of the night being prompted by him to do certain things. We know he is near. He has helped me through trials that I didn't want to go through alone. I felt his presence and guidance.

Ben said a few months after Steve died, "Mom, you know I could have talked at dad's funeral. I could have told everyone what a great dad he was and that he used to play ball with me." With tears streaming down my face, I told Ben that we all could have talked, but we were too sad. We all had wonderful things to say about Dad. He said, "Well, I probably would have cried too."

I am hoping to get to the temple today. I always feel close to Steve there. To know that I am sealed to my husband and children for eternity is one of my greatest blessings in life.

Back To School

It seemed like I blinked and summer was over and it was time to send the kids back to school. The first day of school is usually filled with feelings of excitement and nervousness as the kids pick out their first day of school outfits, pack their school bags, see old friends, make new friends, and meet their new teachers. It is a time for change and new routines.

For our family the first day of school has another twist, a sad one. It was 1 year ago, on the first day of school that Steve passed away. Today isn't the exact day, but the tragedy that accompanied the first day of school is felt. My heart aches for my children. What a difficult day this will be.

We have talked about this day in advance. I told the kids that whatever they wanted to do was fine with me. This morning I woke up very early anticipating the day. I tried to make it the same as any other first day of school, but you could feel the sadness. We had our BIG breakfast, scriptures, prayer, and I helped the kids get ready for school. Ben was the only one with reservations about school. It might just be nerves for advancing to first grade. Which that alone brings on another set of emotions for me. Whatever the case, everyone went to school. They are all so brave.

I think the weather best describes my feelings today. Dark clouds, dreary, cool, intermittent rain showers, occasional peeks of sunshine, chance for severe thunder storms and showers in the evening hours. I am grieving today.

Summer Fun


The Aquarium


Each Thursday in August we tried to go boating at Pineview. We would pack lunch, and spend the day on the water. We had lots of fun, and ended the day with raspberry shakes.

Backyard Fun

Cowabunga Bay

Cowabunga Bay is the new rage this summer. It is a water park in Draper, with huge water slides, medium water slides, and small water slides. Water slides to suit everyone! They are very colorful, fun, wet, wild, and sometimes scary. The kids loved them!
They also have a pool including a lazy river. You quickly grab a tube as people exit and enter the lazy river. If you are shy or bashful, or you will get left behind. Confidence and aggressiveness wins you a tube for the river.

Pool Party

We love spending time with the Fulk Family. Jodi brought Maddie and Tyli over to the North Canyon Swim and Tennis Club to swim with us for the day. It was hot enough that even the mom's got in the pool. We had a great time!

The Zoo

This year our annual trip to the zoo was at the beginning of August. My sister Heidi and I took, Lizzy, Ben and Sam Lalli. A lot changes in one year. Some of the new additions were: The wild cat exhibit; a new 6 week baby giraffe; a very pregnant elephant; a new carousel; and the Madagascar exhibit.


Once summer baseball was over, we decided to go boating once a week at Pineview. I have gotten fairly confident with my boating skills, and the more I boat, the more confident I become. I love boating for several reasons. I love the beauty that surrounds you. The blue, crisp, warm water; the gorgeous mountains; and basking in the sun. I especially love it because it is one thing all my kids enjoy. It keeps the kids together, usually enjoying one another's company. They love tubing, water skiing, wake boarding, swimming, and just hanging out on the boat. I have learned to appreciate the hard work it is to boat. I really took it for granted that Steve took care of it all. Now that it is my responsibility I find myself exhausted at the end of the day.

Each boating venture was filled with funny moments. Some of my favorites are as follows:

  1. When we first arrived at the camp ground to pay our parking fee, the lady at the window said, "Do you have any mussels?" I looked down at my arms, flexed a little, and said, "Oh yes I have muscles." She told me I would have to fill out a form. When she gave me the form I realized she was talking about mussels on the boat prop that can contaminate the water. Oops!

  2. When I was pulling cute little Madison Fulks on the horseshoe and she forgot to let go when she fell. Luckily, her mom was on board so I didn't drag her too far.

  3. Sarah's flirtatious comments, or hoops and hollers to anyone slightly cute on other boats.

  4. Feeding the seagulls at lunch, only to find out that if you feed them, they will never leave. They come in flocks, like the Alfred Hitchcock movie, "The Birds". Scary!

  5. Watching Lizzy face plant on the horseshoe.

  6. Forgetting to tie the rope to the boat when tubing.

  7. Putting the boat in the water only to find the battery was dead. Never fear.... I found a way to charge it.

  8. Ben's dance moves.

Some of our fondest memories are when we boat together.

Another Hard Day

Today is Steve's birthday. This morning I had some alone time to let a lot of emotions flow. Once I pulled myself together, a dear friend of mine took me furniture shopping and to lunch. I needed a diversion.

I decided that all the furniture in the living room, and family room needed to be moved around today. No, it couldn't wait, it had to be done today. Sarah did the heavy lifting with me. What a great sport. I have unlimited energy today that I don't quite understand. I also have an inner desire for external change. I need the part of my house with difficult memories to be different. Not completely different, just enough to suppress some of the daunting memories of the night Steve passed away.

Tonight the kids and I went up to Steve's grave to celebrate his birthday. We had 51 balloons, one for each year. The kids planned the celebration. We had a birthday sign, birthday cake, and noise makers. Steve's parents were there with us, and joined in. It is difficult for me to call it a celebration, but I guess we were celebrating his incredible life.

When we let the 51 balloons go, I couldn't help but think of the new movie out this year titled "Up". I loved this movie. It is a children's animated movie. The elderly gentleman in the movie, wants to visit "paradise". He attaches balloons to his house lifting it to the sky taking him to his destination. I thought how nice it would be if we could all hold onto the balloons and be able to visit with Steve just for awhile.

The kids like to make it light at the grave, but at the end I couldn't control my emotions. It is a sad day.

Flaming Gorge

Flaming Gorge is an annual Brown tradition. We usually participate, but have stayed in the condos at the Lodge. This year we decided to camp. I was surprised at how excited the kids were to camp. Mike prepared weeks in advance for our trip. He tested the tents and all other camping equipment before we left. He packed all of the boating and camping gear all by himself.
When we arrived at Flaming Gorge we set up our compound. Caliey Haycock, Sarah's friend came with us. She was such a delight. All of Steve's siblings were camping right next to each other. In the middle was the Grandparents campground where the main festivities were.
My kids love to water ski. Each morning we would wake up early to get on the lake while the water was glassy. There is nothing like water skiing on smooth, glassy, water. The kids would all ski until they were exhausted. Then we would tube and catch up with the rest of "The Brown's" for fun in the sun, swimming, cliff jumping, and tube wars.

Each day we would play "Steve's music while we were on the boat. I was touched that the kids wanted to keep up the tradition. His music consists of The Eagles, Journey, Billy Joel, and James Taylor. The kids are so familiar with his music that they can sing right along with it. Ben would talk to Steve on the two way radio every day. He would say things like, "Hey Dad, how are you doing up there? I'm making you a smore tonight and throwing it up to you. Mom says if you don't catch it, she'll eat it." The kids told me to tell him to stop, but I told them it was his daily therapy session.

Ice cream cones at Dutch John on the way back to camp.

At night we would make and eat dinner together. It was always an amazing dutch oven meal prepared by all the women (yes I contributed). The cousins would then play games, watch movies, roast marsh mellow, make smores, or create mischief.

Some of my kids favorite memories are:

  • The night they wore the Burger King mask, walked up to the window of someones Motor home, knocked on the window and said, "would you like some Fry's with your shake." The lady started screaming and fell off her chair.

  • Uncle Joe driving the plan toon boat.

  • Cliff jumping.

  • Tube wars

  • I loved Flaming Gorge, but didn't realize how emotional it would be for me. Flaming Gorge was one of Steve's favorite places. At night, I would disappear for hours to spend some time alone dealing with my emotions. I felt Steve's presence a lot, and dream about him every night. I really felt he was watching and was happy that we are continuing on with his favorite traditions.

    Boat Wreck On Chokecherry

    Steve was always so meticulous with the boat. He would spend hours cleaning it, waxing it, and maintaining it. He would notice ever smudge and scratch, and do everything to avoid them. When you entered the boat, well, you know the rules: don't step on the seats; don't get crumbs in the boat; no feet up; don't let the ski touch the sides of the boat or the seats; and for heaven sakes don't spill. I guess that is why our boat still looks like new.

    The day after Steve passed away Ben said, "Now who is going to take us boating." I know it was his way of expressing his sadness about his dad, but I also knew, somehow, I needed to figure out how to operate the boat.

    I decided before going to Flaming Gorge to learn how to manage the boat. Tommy, from The Single's Ward, had offered to assist me with the boat, so I gave him a call. Tommy was very patient instructing me on wide corners, watching the dips, never stopping fast, and other important boat procedures. We drove around for quite some time practicing. I was real nervous at first, but after awhile I adjusted.

    I was in the process of backing the boat into our driveway, when Tommy said, "Let me turn it around for you to back it at a different angle and make it easier for you." Tommy and Katelyn pulled the boat onto the flat section of Chokecherry Drive. Michael and I were watching in the driveway. I heard a very loud, strange, noise, and soon Katelyn came running up and said, "come quick." The trailer hitch had completely come out, the boat (on the trailer) had skidded along the street making lovely divots in the nice new asphalt.

    Wow! what a sight. The boat had gently collided with the back of our beautiful red truck (another one of Steve's prized possessions). Good thing Tommy was driving, that it was on a flat road, and that he knew not to slam on the brakes. Yikes!

    Tommy was very patient, bent all the metals back in their position, and reattached the hitch to the truck. The boat made it back to it's resting place in our driveway, thanks to Tommy.

    We know what the problem was, but, to avoid embarrassing anyone I won't say. I was so grateful that Tommy, the boat expert, was with us for our first boating adventure.

    So, if you ever pass 1800 and Chokecherry and see a "little divot" in the new asphalt, well, I might know something about that.