These past few weeks have been quite challenging but I'm slowly learning how to juggle things on my own with the kids. My daughters are such awesome helpers and they are so loving and protective of their brothers.
We have had a few major milestones celebrated recently. (The first ones celebrated without Dani)
First one was Ashlyn's 5th birthday.
Dani and I decided last year that we would make Ashlyn's Birthday extra special! We always have had ice cream, cake and a few presents at home. But we wanted to do something big for her. We had been planning her birthday party for over a year now and we had accumulated bits and pieces to make her day special. My mum had even sent over the kids outfits from New Zealand to match the "Luau" theme we had chosen.
Being in Sydney at the time of Ashlyn's birthday (30th July) we planned to get together with family in Sydney on Sunday 4th August to celebrate her birthday, Loclyn's 1st birthday (3rd August) and a blessing of a niece before heading back to Melbourne. We planned to have Ashlyn's big birthday party mid August. But it never happened... Dani passed away the evening of Loclyn's birthday.
Coming back to Melbourne I was consumed with funeral plans, bills and having a baby. But Ashlyn didn't forget! She kept reminding me of the birthday party that Mummy and Daddy had planned. We even had a half done banner for her birthday that Dani had started. With the help of AWESOME friends and family we were able to get everything done and celebrated Ashlyn's birthday "Luau Style" as planned. Thank you everyone that helped to make it happen! She loved it!
Second milestone was Zealyn's blessing.
Was Dani there with me that morning? I like to think so...
Getting ready for church was fuss free and we were extra early! (A very RARE scene in my house). My little Zealyn looked so handsome.
Dani's brother in law Andy whom Dani loved so much gave the blessing. We had close family and friends in the Circle. The spirit was felt so strongly. I know Dani was there witnessing and participating in his son's blessing.
Oh, how I wish Dani was here... It was hard not seeing Dani in the circle.
As soon as Zealyn was handed back to me, I couldn't hold back my tears.
I felt so over whelmed. Although Dani wasn't there, I felt surrounded by LOVE. Love from friends and family. And love from my Heavenly Father telling me it's gonna be okay.
This year was our daughter Caitlyn's first year to participate in the Primary Presentation program. Both her and Ashlyn did so well!
I don't think anyone gets over the passing of a loved one, I think we can only continue day by day to do our best to get through it!
Well that's what I'm trying to do. Some days go by so quickly and I feel so excited that I will soon see my darling Husband again! But other days drag on and it feels like it's taking forever! Everything just seems too hard in those moments and that's when I miss Dani the most.
On a day when I had felt it all to hard to bare another minute without my husband. I began to question why Heavenly Father chose me to go through this. (I don't doubt that Heavenly Father knew what he was doing when he gave me the trial, but I doubted myself and if I really had the strength, courage and faith to get through the challenge put before me.)
I came across a passage in Brad Wilcox book (The Continuous Conversion 82), that helped me through that tough day - "If the end goal is just to be clean, start again, be healed, and go home, then why did we choose mortality, knowing full well we would get dirty, fail often, be broken, and lose our way? Clearly there had to be something more that drove us to enroll in the earthly school than getting to go home when the bell rings. We came because we had faith that through the Atonement each lesson we learned could make us better, stronger, and wiser."
What would be the point if it was that easy just to come to earth, and be granted an automatic pass into the celestial kingdom? We need to learn, we need to grow; spiritually, mentally and emotionally. I am grateful for the opportunity I have to continue to be on this earth to grow stronger, wiser and more faithful, so that when I meet my husband again, I will be a better woman than I was before he left me.
I'm doing my best to create a new normal for my family. To do that, I have had to accept and ask for a lot more help than I am used to. It has been such a humbling experience. I know as humans, at times it's hard to accept help but we need to be mindful of the blessings that await those that are willing to help and that we with hold those blessings from that person if we don't accept their assistance. Let them in, let them help!
I am grateful to have such a wonderful family in the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm grateful to beautiful, benevolent Relief Society sisters who cooked meals for my family the last few months. It took a load off my shoulders, and was one less thing to worry about. I'm grateful to such remarkable young men and their leaders for taking time out of their long weekend to mow my (overgrown) lawn and to help maintain my gardens. I'm grateful for other priesthood in the ward for helping to fix things around the house. I'm grateful for Sisters not just in my ward, who have popped over unannounced to help in any way they could.
To everyone who has been there for us one way or another, Thank you all for your love and support! You know who you are! We love you.