The Last Thanksgiving.

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This past Thanksgiving (2013) I was uncertain of where I would go. My immediate family lives hours away from me. And so I was very blessed to be invited to the Parrish Clubhouse for Thanksgiving dinner by my dear friend Janae.

A week before that, I had attended Sunday dinner at the Clubhouse. It is a weekly event that brings the Parrish and Curtis family together on Parrish Lane.

In the back of my mind, I couldn’t help but picture my future family…and I wanted something like the Clubhouse Sunday dinners. It was real. And it was full of family. And love. Everyone got together to play with their cousins, and chat about their lives, and update everyone about their children on missions.

It was such a blessing to be surrounded by such love on Thanksgiving.

There was plenty of Turkey. And tons of laughter. And sweetness that I never knew before.

After all the chaos of cooking, we finally sat down to eat. And Bill Parrish said a prayer that made me feel like a blanket of protection was over us. And I felt such peace and sincerity come from his kind words.

And then we took the time to go around and say what we were Thankful for. It took us about an hour, but I know we were all glad we did it, because I believe it brought everyone closer.

I felt such peace and love come from each member of the family. Everyone was so open and eager to share how thankful they were for their family. Even the littlest of kids expressed their love for each other. For their trials. For God. And for the blessings of the Gospel.

And then it was my turn. And I wasn’t hesitant to speak, because I felt so welcomed and loved. And even though I am not biologically apart of that family, I felt connected in a way I have never felt with my own relatives. It was such a magical feeling. And I cried, because I was overjoyed and thankful to no end.

And throughout the day, Ross Parrish made a special effort to talk with me and was genuinely interested in what I was doing and how my family was doing. She always welcomed me with a bright smile.

Of all the kids that were at the get-together, Keegan Parrish was the first to greet me and chat with me. He had such an awesome spirit and funny sense of humor. He was so mature from what I gathered. And he had such love for his family.

( http://www.ktvb.com/news/Four-members-of-Pocatello-family-found-dead-in-home-246903901.html )
^media link to story.

And so to learn about Bill & Ross Parrish’s family tragedy, makes me feel broken inside. Their lives ended too short and so sudden. I want to reach out to everyone and hug them. I want to go back to that Last Thanksgiving and pause time. Because my heart aches for their families, knowing they will never be in their presence again on this earth. And I am confused. And I question WHY? Like so many do when death creeps in the middle of the night.

I never thought last Thanksgiving would be the last time I would see them.

I am overwhelmed.

And I know how it feels to lose somebody so close.

My heart goes out to Jensen and Ian Parrish. They are what is left and I wish them strength to get through these next unbearable days until they reach home to say their goodbyes. And pray for them to understand and to grieve and to continue on their journey. And to stay close to God.

I want to be able to offer words of wisdom or strength. But all I feel I can do is offer silence and prayer. And hope for peace.

God bless everyone effected by this sudden misfortune. Always remember to say ‘I Love You’ because you never know what tomorrow brings.

And God be with Us ‘Til We Meet Again.

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The ninth year.

It was 9 years ago today that my mother died. (Feb. 20)

I find it difficult to picture life nine years ago.

I was a stubborn bossy drama queen. That is, until the universe threw me a curve ball, and I was 10 years older with a mind of worry and panic attacks every hour on the hour watching time slip away from my just as stubborn mother.

I became humbled. I counted every second. I made each moment count. And I lived like I was dying. Because I thought I was.

I never thought possible that this part of my life would ever come. There was a time where I honestly believed I wouldn’t make it this far. I remember begging my mother to stay on this earth, as if she had magical powers that could erase the toxic blood cells from her veins and triple her platelet count, but alas…she had no control. And I was convinced I couldn’t survive without her.

But here I am, doing much more than just surviving, I’m…living.

I’m experiencing life the way I think she would have wanted me to. With pain and heartache. With joy and laughter. With moments of loneliness and moments with genuine company. With loudness and softness. With sadness and happiness. With tears and smiles. With surprises. And with the lessons I’ve learned a few times over because the third time is a charm. With incredible life changing moments that humble me. And moments where I feel so proud I could burst. With life. And with death. And with knowledge to make good choices. And knowledge to realize the bad. To experience it all. To crash and fall. To get back up and try try try again. To love. To serve. And to make people laugh, because I get that from her. And she’d be horrified if I didn’t share my sense of humor. To remember who I am and where I come from. And to start again, when I’ve made a mess bigger than Everest. To forgive. And to let go. And to live much more than the day before.

If the loss of my mother has taught me anything, it is: To not take life for granted.

I’ve come to understand things a little differently with a new perspective over the past 9 years because of this loss.

Death does not have to define us. But it certainly shapes us. And I’m thankful for the path it has taken me on. I wouldn’t want to be anyone else.

 

Thanks mom, for hanging in there for as long as you could.