Sunday, March 27, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

This day was supposed to be about Jaya... but ended up being about Jonah. This day, I remembered what real treasure is, and that part of mine is missing. This day, the rainbow ended at our house: My tears, plus sunshine from the love of a friend. This day, when I said my prayers, I thanked the Lord for you. Thanks, Ylfe... you have no idea:)

Jonah's Day

Nanna and Kiri came with me to dress Jonah. It is a special, sacred time. I was grateful to have their love and support. It is what women do. We show up for the hard times, that become special and sacred. Finally... a picture of Nanna and Jonah.
My sister arranged Jonah's table with all the gifts people brought for Jonah. Such love and sacrifice for a life so short, but so beautiful.
As we arrived at the cemetery Tai Nui and Uncle Teancum placed Jonah in his spot.

After Rob dedicated the grave, he decided to put Jonah down. He taught us how to take a handful of dirt and say our last good-byes to Jonah as we toss the dirt in. We put our lovely leis in, too. He called the tractor over and everyone helped secure Jonah in his final resting place where he will await the great and glorious day of the Resurrection.
Jonah is laid to rest with his brothers. It is finished.

Because we can only handle so much seriousness.....

After we opened the grave and put Jonah down, my sweet 3 year old niece was running through the crowd to her daddy and saw the hole too late. She took a tumble right down in! Her uncle pulled her out, minus one shoe that got wedged between Jonah and the dirt. He pulled that out too. Does anyone else find that humorous? I appreciate Jaelle's comic relief. Thanks, sweetheart!

And... ever wonder what happens the night before a funeral? After a Family night filled with Opa's faith and music all around, the girls had a fashion show. All outfits donated by Tonja.:)

Do you see the smiles? They are real. Its ok to smile, to celebrate a life with those that are still here.

Thank you, everyone, for filling our home with noise and chaos and love and faith.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Now... WHAT?

I am a fan of 'finished'. There is so much POWER in 'finished'. I associate it with accomplished, victorious, achieved, done. I especially love 'finished' when it applies to a house hold project, but my favorite 'finished' has to do with finish lines. I love races, and I love finish lines. One of the greatest thrills of my life was crossing the finish line of the marathon I ran.

Jonah has finished, in a way he is done. It's a little painful. But as the rest of us run, walk, or hobble forward on our course, Jonah continues to bless our lives.

We are doing well. Our kids are well. We are not actively grieving. We are all involved in healthy activities and make time to spend with other people-to connect with people we love and who love us. It has been good.

We do, however, have rough moments. For instance, Jaya turned two a week ago and I could not bring myself to celebrate-I just avoided it. I woke up today and realized she isn't the one who died, and she needs a birthday cake and a present! And in planning a family party for tonight that coincides nicely with BYU's "Sweet Sixteen" appearance and Jimmer's run for the "Elite Eight", I have much to do to keep my mind occupied with the here and now. See how that works? What a blessing it is to have little people who depend on me to continue moving in a normal, predictable pattern.

I dream of Jonah. I see him wake up from death. I feel him in my arms. I wake up happy. Even though he is gone, I keep learning from him as I reflect on his life. And I keep hearing his voice in my mind. It says, "Dear Mom..."

I have a need to share what I hear him say because I am afraid I will lose it if I don't. I look forward to sharing that soon...:)

Until then, Go JIMMER!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dare: -verb

Dare: –verb
1. to have the necessary courage or boldness for something; be bold enough: You wouldn't dare!
2. to have the boldness to try; venture; hazard.
3. to meet defiantly; face courageously.
4. to challenge or provoke (a person) into a demonstration of courage; defy: to dare a man to fight.
5. to have the necessary courage or boldness.

Jonah's middle name comes from Robert Dare Wilson, my grandfather. It is a family name and arguably the coolest name ever.

My grampa was a great man. He came from humble circumstances. He rose above his situation and promised himself he would change patterns of behavior he had seen in his childhood. His intentional choices changed the destiny of his numerous posterity. He lived a courageous life and overcame many hardships, and some he had to endure until the end of his life. I owe a great deal to this man. We thought it appropriate to name Jonah after him.

Jonah faced many hardships and challenges, and I believe he did it with courage and boldness. He wasn't a complainer; in spite of his limitations he did more than we thought possible, more than we hoped. He had the boldness to try; venture; hazard. HE DARED.

The next time you are faced with a challenge, DARE. The next time God blesses you with an opportunity, DARE. The next time the odds are stacked against you, DARE. The next time you are called upon to stand for right, DARE.

I love the Primary song, 'Dare to do Right'.

Dare to do right! Dare to be true!
You have a work that no other can do
Do it so bravely, so kindly, so well,
Angels will hasten the story to tell.

Dare to do right, Dare to be true,
Other men's failures will never save you
Stand by your conscience, your honor, your faith;
Stand like a hero and battle till death.

Dare, dare, dare to do right;
Dare, dare, dare to be true,
Dare to be true, Dare to be true.

Jonah Dared. Do you?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Finding Joy

I shared this story at Jonah's funeral but I feel its worth repeating, with a few more details.

When we found out Jonah would be sick at our 20 week ultrasound, Rob and I tried to figure out what we would tell the kids. We decided we needed to focus on finding the joy and seeing the miracles of Jonah's life. This is what we have tried to do.

So pneumonia is a fight to the death for my baby. It is my darkest hour watching helplessly and waiting while my sweet one fights a battle I know he will lose. It is more than I can do. There is no joy in this, only despair. Death comes as a welcomed release for my baby, and for me, from the suffering. I've said it many times, but as horrible and lonely as death is, it is also beautiful and merciful. Every cold my kids bring home strikes fear in my heart as I wonder, "is this the one that will give Jonah pneumonia?" And so it happens.

The Sunday Rob got back from New Zealand I woke up with anxiety. Jonah needed a little oxygen the entire day and we had gotten to the point where I could just give it to him during his feeds. Anyway, when Rob got home that night he and Grampa gave Jonah a blessing. Monday morning I took him to the doctor and he said Jonah had a cold and I needed to watch him. I called him later that day because I was needing to turn up his oxygen a lot- and he told me to take Jonah to the suction clinic at the hospital to see if he would do better if his airway was suctioned out.

It was a Monday night and we had planned on having Family Night. We decided to take it on the road. All our kids came with. We played card games while we waited at the suction clinic-we were informed it would be a very long wait. Meanwhile, Jonah's oxygen tank that usually lasts an entire week-RAN OUT. He required so much oxygen that it only lasted 2 hours. He started turning blue very quickly. Rob and I gathered up Jonah and gear and sprinted for the emergency room to get more oxygen. By the time we burst through the door, found a room equipped with oxygen and a doctor to help Jonah's oxygen wasn't at 85-100 like its supposed to be, it was at 4.

But Jonah wasn't giving up that easily. He recovered with lots of oxygen. They took an xray of his lungs. They told us he had pneumonia so bad he probably wouldn't recover, even with hospitalization and antibiotics. So we decided to bring him home so he could be with us. We got antibiotics and lots of oxygen.

The previous week I took my kids to the dentist and one of them chose a green bouncy ball with a smiley face on it for their prize. So all week that darn bouncy ball kept bouncing around. I picked it up more times than I care to count and I swear I even threw it in the trash. Anyway this green bouncy ball was really driving me crazy! It kept reappearing at the most surprising times.

Tuesday morning we woke up and Jonah was worse. Rob stayed home from work to be with Jonah. I was sitting on the couch holding him and I asked Rob, knowing perfectly well there was nothing we could do, "What do we do now?" And from no where he whipped that green bouncy ball out of his pocket and flashed the smiley face my way and said, "We put on one of these!" Curses to the green bouncy ball! But I laughed out loud. Of course we do. We put on a smiley face.

Let me assure you that it was not a day of many smiles. It was a very rough day for Jonah. It was a very rough day for the rest of us. We understood that the inevitable was coming. We spent the day watching and waiting. Words aren't adequate to explain the stress. Enough about Tuesday.

Wednesday we got up to do the same. Hold Jonah, love Jonah, till the end. I was again holding him on the couch and there was something under my foot bugging me. I reached down and picked it up to examine it and wouldn't you know it: IT WAS THE BLASTED GREEN BOUNCY BALL WITH A SMILEY FACE ON IT!!! My first response was to chuck it across the room! But instead, I took it and put it in Jonah's hand the same way Rob had held it a day earlier, with the smiley face flashing my way. And seeing it there in Jonah's hand he seemed to say to me, "Mom. This is my last day. Enjoy it!" Somehow amidst his life-ending battle he seemed to be smiling on the inside. And it put a smile on my face.

In a flash of inspiration it came to me that even though there was so much Jonah would never get to do, today he would do as much as we could make possible. He would live a lifetime in a day. And so from behind the darkest cloud of despair crept a little ray of sunshine- and I dare say- joy. I dressed my little Moari Warrior. He dunked a basketball. He played tennis. He saved the game winning goal! He climbed a coconut tree and hung upside down. He jumped rope. He fished. He shot arrows. He kicked a soccer ball. He golfed and just like dad, threw his golf club. He supported his Red Devils as the cutest mascot ever. He dressed like a witch-he didn't really want to be a witch-aren't witches girls? He played baseball. He was a missionary. He lived a life time in a day.

We spent every moment playing with him. Everyone helped. Mom, Dad, Mariah, Tahlia, Tai Nui, Sydney, even Jaya wanted to be in the mix. Aunt Maren, Uncle Rick, cousins Ricky and Ezra and Grampa. We were all gathered around fussing over Jonah. I believe he loved it just as much as we did. And I could feel the JOY. Not despair. Not stress. JOY. Not peace. Not acceptance. JOY.

How is that possible? How is it possible that I can be living my darkest hour as my baby lives his and feel JOY? How can all that despair and stress be changed to JOY? How is that possible? Our friend Alma (from the Book of Mormon) had a similar experience and he explains it so much better than I can.

So Alma was a pretty bad guy, he did all kinds of the worst things and felt great about it until an angel appeared to him and told he to knock it off or he would be cast off forever. Alma finally understood what he was doing to himself and the many people who followed his ways. The guilt consumed him.

In Alma 36 starting in verse 12 he says, "...I was racked with eternal torment, for my soul was harrowed up to the greatest degree and racked with all my sins.... I was tormented with the pains of hell... and for 3 days and for 3 nights was I racked, even with the pains of a damned soul. And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world. Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death. And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more. And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!...There could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains...on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy."

Alma was racked with eternal torment for a much different reason than I was, but the pain is familiar. And so is the sweet JOY. It is possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He can take all pain regardless of the cause, and heal us because He has already paid the price. There is no earthly pain the Atonement can't compensate for, but we must have faith in Him.

I am grateful for my Jonah. I am grateful for Jonah's last day. I am grateful we could find the joy just in time, and that we remember his last day with fondness instead of stress. And for the rest of my life, every time I see a green bouncy ball with a smiley face, I will smile.