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    Seek Ye Out The Best Books

    Lately, I've been trying to balance out the amount of time that I spend reading Taylor Swift fan theories and watching puppy gifs with some actual substance. It is so easy to fill our heads and time with junk material, I thought I would try to make it a little easier for you to enjoy something a little healthier for your brain. I'll add to the list as I finish more of the giant stack next to my bed, but this is a pretty good start. 


    Mother's Milk

    Mother's Milk is the best $10 you'll ever spend. It is a small book of poems about Heavenly Mother. If you're not a poem person, don't let that stop you. I'm not of a poem person either and I LOVED IT! I sat down thinking I'd read a little and ended up reading the whole thing and in tears. Mother's Milk soothed an ache for Heavenly Mother that I didn't know I had. You will never regret reading this little book of wisdom. 


    At the Pulpit 

    At the Pulpit is modern scripture in my eyes. It is a compilation of talks given by women over the last 185 years. I can not stress how rad the vast majority of these talks are. Do they share solid doctrine that is both inspiring and educational? Yes. Do they empower me by teaching me about the long line of LEGIT disciples of Christ that came before me? H*CK YES! I think every man and women in the church should read these talks because it truly helped me better understand the role of women in the church as teachers and leaders.


    First Principle and Ordinances: The Fourth Article of Faith in Light of the Temple 

    Title? Good not great. Actual book? FREAKING GREAT! There is so much going on in the Church. This book has helped me get back to the basics of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. With a heavy focus on relationships with God, this book helps us refocus on what matters most. 


    I Dare You To Eat It

     I know. I know! A food storage book?! Here is the deal. 1. The author is super funny. How do I know? Well because I've read the book and she's my freaking MOTHER! 2. This isn't a book on how to make and preserve your own cheese and toothpaste. This is a no-nonsense guide to help swallow and digest the Church's teaching on food storage. This book will help you follow the prophet, save money, and have peace of mind. If you want more than that, I can't help you. ;)


    She Persisted

    A sweet children's book that tells the story of a handful of women who overcame challenges to accomplish big things. A very good read for both your sons and daughters. 


    Big Magic

    Big Magic SAVED Q.NOOR. Weeks before launching Q.NOOR I gradually became paralyzed with fear. What if this was a huge mistake? What if no one buys the dresses? This could ruin me financially. This could be so embarrassing. If I could remember who recommend Big Magic to me I would give them anything they wanted. Big Magic helped me put creativity and fear and risk into perspective. It helped me find the courage I needed to work my butt off to make Q.NOOR happen. It is possibly the healthiest book I have ever read. 

    What am I reading next? No one asked but...

    One Hundred Birds Taught me To Fly: The Art of Speaking to God


    Ok, so if you have been a member of the Church long enough to be preparing to serve a mission, you've heard of the MTC plenty. You probably have family members and friends who have shared countless accounts of crazy funny and spiritual experiences there. And if you don't know already you NEED to know that the Provo MTC has BYU Creamery chocolate milk ON TAP!

    So, you know about the MTC, but do you really know what to expect or how the MTC works? ESPECIALLY if you aren't learning a language! More importantly, do you know how to prepare for the MTC experience? 

    One of the greatest blessings of my life will always be the year I spent teaching at the MTC. I learned more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ from my time in the MTC than my time as a missionary… which is honestly more a personal problem. Spending any amount of time there should truly be treated as a blessing. 

    In the MTC you begin living the missionary schedule in the sense that you wake up and go to bed at the standard times, but everything else is a little wacky.

    Here are a few scheduling things you can count on:

    • Every day you’ll have time to exercise.
      • The MTC has a massive gym perfect for basketball, four square, and running laps. There are places you can stretch and hypothetically do yoga, but finding your zen in the same room as 50 bouncing basketballs isn’t for the faint of heart.
      • You can also work out in your room, take a walk around the MTC campus, and when the weather is nice you can play Frisbee, kickball, volleyball and more on the upper field.

    • There will be lots of study time… and I mean LOTS.
      • You will have personal study time, companionship study time, language study time (when applicable), and more study time. There can be so much study time that your brain starts to feel like mush.
      • Study tips:
        • You will have your whole mission to soak in these principles. One day your Preach My Gospel will feel as familiar as your favorite t shirt. You’ll get there. There is no rush.
        • Plan and Diversify. Avoid study burn out by planning and getting creative. Have a list of topics that you would like to learn more about. Switch between different resources. Spend some time just simply reading the scriptures. Familiarize yourself with Christ’s parables.
      • Class time and teachers.
        • When you get to the MTC you are assigned a district. A district is just a group of 6-10 ish missionaries. Usually about half of your district will be going to the same mission as you. Each district is assigned two teachers.
        • Every day you will have two three hour blocks of class. One block with each teacher a day. Class can feel long, but they do their best to keep it moving with variety in activities.
      • In my humble opinion, the most important thing you can learn from your teachers is how to love and teach people you just met. Pay attention to how they teach you. BE HUMBLE. Trust them. The Church dumps a lot of money into continually training MTC teachers. When the Church wants to implement a new teaching style with the missionaries, they train the MTC teachers first.
      • Role playing
        • Role playing is one of the best ways to practice teaching and it helps you understand what it feels like to be both a missionary and an investigator. No one is too good for role playing.
        • By the end of your mission you will be a role-playing pro, but at first, it feels weird and hokey. And that’s ok. My suggestion would be to dive in head first. The only people who look like idiots are those who hold back. You’re already in the MTC you might as well go big.
        • If you buy into the role-playing magic, it can bless you your entire life. I can’t tell you how many times I have forced a roommate to role play a tough conversation with a coworker, friend, or boyfriend with me. It is a true skill, but it takes practice.
      • Exhaustion
        • At one time or another, you will be mentally, emotionally and physically tired in a way you didn’t know was possible. You would pay a million dollars for an hour nap in your own bed, but here is the thing: this is life. From here on out, part of life as an adult is kinda always wanting a nap. Lean into this, but don’t lean too far. If you are feeling like you’re going to snap, find a way to work a 15-minute nap into your schedule. This is just me, but I think Heavenly Father would rather have you spend a little time resting your mind so you can take full advantage of your studies over you “studying” like a zombie.

    Much like mission advice, everyone has a million opinions. I recently got a lot of good advice from some incredibly bright and experienced women. I’m going to share some of their tips below, but first I want to give my two cents.

    I literally just have two tips.

    1. Get comfortable communicating with the spirit in your everyday life. Know what if feels like to get a little prompting or good idea and then IMMEDIATELY act on it. If you build that relationship before you put on that name tag, you will a million times better off. Let Heavenly Father know he can trust you to run whatever errands He needs taken care of. You can do this by simply praying that you will be more aware of His hand in your life. He is already there, you just need to notice Him.
    2. Soak in the MTC, but don’t drown. The MTC can be like a little magical spiritual Disneyland, or it can feel like a smothering wet blanket. Sometimes, a little of both. Take advantage of the time that you have to focus on learning and preparing. This means you need to be humble and recognize that you have stuff to learn and prepare for, but don’t stress about learning everything all at once. You will not be a perfect missionary the day you enter the field, nor the day you leave. Serving a mission isn’t about being the perfect missionary. It’s about learning, growing, and changing so you can better help others do the same.

    Ok, jk. I have one more tip.

    1. When you put on that badge you are going to feel a vacuum sucking you into a perfect robot missionary mold. Fight it. Fight that pressure with everything you have. Your call letter includes your first name. God called you and your personality and everything that makes you unique to serve. He didn’t call some robot-cookie-cutter version of you. Maintain who you are. Not because you are better than anyone, but because there are people who need YOU and His Gospel. God loves YOU and He wants you to enjoy your mission. There will be days that are VERY hard to enjoy, but it will be so much easier if you maintain your “you-ness.”

    Rad tips from rad humans:

    • If you are learning a language, take your Speak Your Language challenges seriously. I know that being diligent in my HSI (habla su idoma) practice helped my language skills more than almost anything else . . . except for reading The Book of Mormon in the mission language. @Liahonagirl75
    • I would say go with an open HEART and mind! People are coming from all walks of life and especially if you're older or been independent for a few years prior to the mission... you're going to be with people that might be out on their own for the first time, and they're doing the best they can just like you! @queenofkooks
    • I'd say that you need to eat before you get dropped off, they don't feed you til 6 pm. I accidentally started fasting because I didn't eat lunch... Had a super emotional day and ended up with an awful headache. No bueno. @nyssahramirez
    • Right before I went into the MTC my friend took me grocery shopping and told me to get snacks. I grabbed popcorn, canned fruit, fruit snacks and granola bars- stuff that wouldn't go bad while I was there. Those snacks got me and my companion through the MTC. 9 weeks of MTC food takes it toll on you!! @withkrstinamanda
    • The thought that Sunday is golden! That first night (Wednesday) can be so hard with missing family and overwhelming with what is ahead but do your best to make it to Sunday and it gets better! I remember the first couple of days I just had to tell myself 'Sunday is golden...Sunday is golden' when it was hard. It's so beautiful to hear the familiar sacrament prayer and partake of the sacrament for the first time as a missionary with your purpose secured strongly in your mind @Mackenziemcomber
    • Someone gave me a ton of dollar bills to take to the MTC so I could get snacks, etc. out of the vending machines at the end of the halls. That saved me!!! There were many times I'd buy microwave pizzas or burritos for a late-night snack @joslynsue
    • I wish I had known how many notebooks and pens I would go through! I brought like one super mini note book and I needed WAY more because I wanted to write down everything! I'm so glad I did write down so much because the MTC is so spiritual! And soak in the closeness you feel with the missionaries there! It's such a unique feeling! @cass_nichole_hood
    • While you should work hard, don't take yourself too seriously. Don't stress. Be obedient and do your best and eventually you will learn the language. Enjoy all the amazing firesides and time just spent studying. Have a positive attitude. Have fun. I was surprised to find that I loved the MTC and made some amazing friend there. @melonaid
    • Honestly, I think everyone expects to work hard and to be spiritual (I mean, it's the MTC, right???), but I think what I wish I had worked harder on was relationships. With the other sisters and companion, I got along with everyone just fine, but you don't realize how special those people will be to you until much, much later and how much you will need those people and their special talents and spirits as you go through that experience. @allbrightthings3

    He Will Teach Us How

    by Mallory Stevens

    I have been blessed with a largely happy life. I come from a loving family where my thoughts and ideas were respected, and where there was always ample laughter and love. I was blessed with 8 wonderful siblings.  I always had loyal friends, kind leaders, and warm food on the table. We didn’t have much excess, but we had everything we truly needed. We were blessed with many joys, but we also experienced our fair share of trials. Heavenly Father desires for all of us to learn and to grow and to experience hardship - so it is only normal that each of us have our own trials and that each of those trials weigh on the hearts of those who love us. Having 9 children and two parents (and then in-laws added in time) has exposed us to great joy and great sorrow. Collectively, we’ve experienced or supported each other through substance abuse, rape, divorce, depression, homelessness, miscarriage, illness, infertility, broken bones, loss of loved ones and attempted suicide.

    All that being said, when I met my now-husband, Kory, and he told me about his struggle with depression, I hardly thought twice about it. I didn’t have any personal experience with depression, but I had heard my mom talk occasionally about her 5 year depression after my brother’s birth and how it rocked her to her core. I had also witness my sister recover from multiple suicide attempts over the years. I knew depression was something to be taken seriously, and something my sweet husband would need to be supported and loved through, but I hardly understood the weight of it all. I felt confident that love would conquer all and that his depression would be, largely, a non-issue. And honestly, for a time, it was.

    It wasn’t that Kory’s depression disappeared when we were married, it simply wasn’t something we talked about much, mostly for my lack of knowing how to help and Kory’s difficulty opening up about it.  When Kory’s depression did surface, I naively and foolishly thought his depression was in part a result of my own shortcomings. That, were I a better wife, he wouldn’t be facing these demons at all. I felt guilty and frustrated that our marriage didn’t look like a “normal” marriage. I’m ashamed to say there were times when I even felt frustrated with Kory. Like if he just tried hard enough, he could snap out of it. I know now, of course, how wrong I was. Despite Kory’s depression, we were (and are) truly very happy together. His depression seemed to come and go and there were times when I forgot about it all together. We felt immense joy in the newness and excitement of marriage.

    In the two years that followed we were faced with miscarriage, infertility, and then the eventual blessing of getting pregnant with a sweet baby boy. Kory carried the weight of his depression through it all and I did my best to love him and support him. I felt helpless and ill-equipped, but what I lacked in experience I tried to make up for in kindness, often failing even in that regard. Kory’s depression felt like a chronic trial that would never let up. Despite it being his burden, I often found myself lamenting, in my head, over how it affected me (I hate even saying that out loud). We did the best we could to find joy amidst a heavy and difficult trial.

    When our son was finally born, we were truly overjoyed. The waiting was over, and he was finally, finally here. We were adjusting to our new life as parents when a new trial made it’s way into our lives - postpartum depression. Where I once felt searing optimism I now felt disabled by fear. I asked Kory for a blessing almost daily. I lived in constant fear that I was going to die, that my sweet new baby was going to die, that Kory was going to die. I felt guilty that I wasn’t more fully enjoying this special, sacred time. I found myself sobbing uncontrollably and trying my best to pull it together before guests came to visit our new babe. Along with it all, I felt extremely sorry for my sweet Kory. I was crumbling under the weight of a trial that he had faced every single day for over 10 years. I felt completely broken and in total awe at how he had survived. It was the first time in my life that my thoughts felt out of my control, the first time I realized you couldn’t use sheer willpower to snap out of depression. Even on my best days, my thoughts drifted to a sad and heavy place. I prayed for support and relief regularly and with time, my hormones regulated and I started to feel like myself again. I faced the depression for just a couple of months, but I left with a new, profound understanding of my husband’s trial. Though harrowing and difficult, I suddenly found myself emerged in extreme gratitude for my brief glimpse at depression. I felt a new love, a new patience, a new determination to seek help for my husband. I viewed his trial through the lens of love and dismissed any unproductive thoughts.

    We spent years seeking help for Kory’s depression. My empathy became an important part of our daily lives as his mental health seemed to worsen. Heavenly Father had prepared me, had given me a chance to have increased patience and increased motivation to seek help. From the outside, nobody would ever suspect Kory had depression - he is funny and a charming, handsome and kind - and yet his daily reality was dark more often than not. Our son was almost 2 and our daughter was just months from being born when we finally found some answers for Kory’s depression. The path that lead us to those answers was one that required a lot of faith, a lot of prayer, and a lot of unconventional turns. We have done all we can to seek physical healing and have made really great strides in that regard, but we know that when everything is said and done, it is the atonement that heals any ailment. We are still working towards healing, but we feel we have been immensely blessed along the way. We have greater love in our marriage, a greater appreciation of small joys, a greater knowledge that nothing is permanent and we must savor our happiness and endure our sorrow, more tenderness with God’s children, and of course, more empathy for those who have walked this path.

    All of us are experiencing unique and difficult trials, and through them we have an opportunity to grow and to become more empathetic. Our empathy is of great value to Heavenly Father because it ensures His children are loved, are tended to, are heard. It is our empathy that drives us to minister to others, it is our empathy that has us on our neighbor’s front steps, dinner in hand, after the loss of a loved one. It is empathy that drives our donations to refugees, our gentleness with our children, our patience with our spouse. It is empathy, coupled with charity, that strengthens the weary, that clothes the naked, that feeds the hungry, that shelters the poor. It is empathy that carries us in our desperation. It was empathy that left flowers on my front porch after I miscarried 5 years ago, empathy that brought my family dinner after my dad broke 7 ribs and spent a week in the ICU. I’m convinced we can never truly understand charity without empathy. It is our tender feelings and understanding of others that enables us to better love them, and that enables others to better love us.

    I once saw a beautiful message on mourning with those who mourn, shared by a dear friend,  that I have never forgotten,  “One time I heard a woman tell a story about what happened after her second still born baby. She said a woman from her ward came to visit her in the hospital. She said the woman walked into her room, took off her shoes and climbed into the hospital bed with her — she didn’t say anything, just stroked her face. As usual, charity is so brave. and so kind.”

    Life inevitably brings unimaginable difficulty. And in those moments, while we’re grappling for help, stuck, and feeling completely helpless, we can find peace (and even joy!) in knowing the Savior has walked our path. The same way we find comfort in a friend, sibling, or parent who knows the unique trial we are facing, so should we find comfort in the Savior knowing our pain. The same way we relate to the infertility of others when we are in the throws of it ourselves, we can find in the Savior a constant, ever-relatable friend. He hasn’t just experienced similar trials or faced similar setbacks, He has lifted the very same burden we currently bear. It’s hardly fathomable - yet He knows the exact intricacies of our situation. The subtle differences that make it unique from our neighbor’s similar trial, the complexities that are solely ours. The upbringing that shapes us, the financial situation we find ourselves in, the previous trials that have left us feeling battered, the sins we struggle to overcome, the emotional and physical predispositions we were born with. He understands us every whit, knows the chemical make up of our brains, the physical make up of our bodies; knows the very thoughts that consistently trigger our sorrow, knows the fears we can’t shake. He knows what it feels like to be triggered by those sorrows, and not to be able to shake those fears.

    The miracle of the atonement is this - the Savior not only knows what it’s like to have depression he knows what it’s like to have your exact depression. He literally experienced it as if it was his own. He felt your infertility as if it was his own, your struggling business as if it was his own, your heartbreak at being single as if it as his own.  Not only that, He knows what it’s like to have a spouse with depression, or a spouse struggling with an addiction, or a parent who passed away. He knows not only how our own trials weigh on us, but also how we crumble under the weight of our loved one’s burdens - desperate to administer relief but feeling, largely, helpless. He knows what it’s like to miss the very person you are currently missing, not just what it’s like to miss someone in general. He knows what it’s like to lose the very person you have lost. He knows the weight of losing a child, but not just any child, he knows the insurmountable heaviness of losing your exact, sweet, perfect baby. He knows what it feels like to miss their very laugh, their very smell, their very warmth. He didn’t experience our sorrows in general terms, he experienced them exactly. Your exact heartbreak is intimately familiar to Him - He, too, shook as he bore it. He remembers the pain of it as if it was His own. And that is why He can succor us.

    David A. Bednar explained it perfectly “The Savior has suffered not just for our iniquities but also for the inequality, the unfairness, the pain, the anguish, and the emotional distresses that so frequently beset us. There is no physical pain, no anguish of soul, no suffering of spirit, no infirmity or weakness that you or I ever experience during our mortal journey that the Savior did not experience first. He has perfect empathy. ”

    I can only hope that, in our times of trouble and trial, we can muster the strength to envision our Savior - our kind, ever-loving Savior, literally running to our aide, sprinting to hold us, to love us, to stroke our hair and wipe our tears. And how beautiful, that when trials strike, it is the very love the Savior administers that He desires for us to learn. That, if we stay close to Him, He will bless us with the perfect example of the love he desires us to foster for others. He will teach us firsthand how to succor to others as He heals our wounds and carries our burdens.

    Our Steve.

    You know that one cousin? The one that everyone looks forward to seeing at the family dinner because they can make you laugh so hard your cheeks ache? The young cousins look so much up to them. Heck, the older cousin do, too. They seem like the perfect combo of silly and strong. 

    In our family, that cousin is named Steve. Steve was a couple of years older than me and a million times cooler. My earliest memory of Steve is of him packing his family's navy blue Suburban as we got ready to visit my aunt and uncle's ranch. He was wearing faded light jeans and a matching denim vest... a matching denim vest lined with faux fur. That's it. Oh! He did have on cowboy boots that were two sizes too big. We were still young, but in my mind, he was the coolest guy I had ever known.

    Steve made our whole family laugh harder than I can remember. It feels like yesterday that he and his twin, John, we sitting on the barstools in his mom's kitchen cracking jokes while the rest of the cousins just watched and enjoyed the show. 

    As funny as Steve was, he was even kinder. Steve was a cool kid at East High school that made his little dorky cousin, thats me, feel famous by association. 

    18 months into his service in the NY/NY North Mission, Steve got really sick. Steve, my superhero cousin, had leukemia. Steve fought like no one has ever fought. Even in the deepest points of the battle, Steve remained positive and continued to testified of his love for his Savior and His atonement. 

    On October 27, 2014 we said 'goodbye' to our Steve for a time. We miss his jokes, but we have not lost his spirit. He is always close. 

    Steve and our family will always be grateful for the wonderful medical team at Primary Children's Medical Center for their endless and loving care. Though we can never repay them, we will be donating $10 for every Q.NOOR Stevie dress purchased to Primary Children's. We hope to help another family have even just one more day with their Steve. 

    Weeping May Endure for a Night, but Joy Cometh in the Morning.

    by Jenna Richards

    This is the first time I have written my story, and I am not even sure where to begin. But on April 2nd, 2016, my life forever changed. 

    On Saturday, April 2nd, my husband, Chase, was supposed to pick Jack and I up in Brigham City, UT.  We had been at my parents’ house, but we were going to meet Chase sometime around noon to eat at our favorite restaurant,  Maddox, and head back home. That morning I texted him at 7:30 to see if he was awake and ask what time I should head out. I didn’t hear anything back. By 9:30, I called and texted again, but still no word.  This wasn’t like him, but I still wasn’t too worried because I assumed he was sleeping in due to working early mornings all week.  By 11:00, and still no answer, I knew something was wrong. I then texted his Dad and asked if he’d heard anything from Chase.  He said no, but that he would go to our house and make sure everything was okay.  He went there with Chase’s brother, and soon after I received the worst phone call ever. His voice was frantic and he said, “Jenna, Chase is unconscious! We’ve called for an ambulance. Come right now!!” I was frantically running around bawling while trying to pack our bags as fast as I could before heading to Utah. Luckily, my Dad was able to drive us, since I was in no shape to be driving. Truthfully, I don’t remember the 3-hour drive all that much. I just remember getting updates, then that dreaded message from my Bishop saying Chase was being life-flighted  to SLC. Death still wasn’t on my mind.  I was thinking more about what we would possibly have to do for recovery, etc. As soon as we got into SLC though, the reality and panic set in and I immediately grabbed a bag and threw up. It felt like forever to get to the hospital, since it was Conference weekend and the streets were packed. I was getting frantic, wanting to scream out the window, “EVERYONE, PLEASE MOVE!! I started getting agitated and just wanted to get out of the car and start running. When we finally got to the hospital, I jumped out of the car, grabbed Jack, and ran into the lobby. As soon as I walked in, I instantly got dizzy and the nausea kicked back in. I handed Jack to my Dad, ran to the bathroom, and threw up one more time. Maybe deep down I knew it wasn’t going to be good, and I was scared to face reality. 

    When I walked into Chase’s room, I was shocked and taken aback, and I knew immediately this was way worse than I could have ever imagined. Within 5 minutes of being there, Chase’s doctor walked in to let us all know things didn’t look good. It was such a strange feeling seeing someone say those words so calm and collected. Shouldn’t this guy be heartbroken to deliver such hard news? I didn’t want to believe his words, so I was grasping for straws at this point, begging people to tell me everything was going to be ok. Deep down I knew he probably wasn’t going to make it, but I refused to believe it and I was not ready to face that reality.

    Chase was then placed in a hypothermic state.  The doctors decided they wouldn’t be doing any MRI’s or EEG’s for 24 hours to see if the brain swelling would go down. It was then we found out Chase had aspirated in his sleep, which deprived his brain and other organs of the oxygen they needed for many hours. The next 24 hours were hell. I felt helpless watching Chase hooked up to life support, his body quivering.  The sound of a machine pushing air into his lungs and the ominous, never-ending sound of beeping machines still haunts me. This is something nobody can prepare you for. 

    One of my best friends, Kim, rushed to the hospital to take Jack for the night, and by midnight I decided to go sleep for a few hours at a hotel down the street so I could function and be prepared for the next day. On Sunday Chase’s vitals were all looking good, but he was still in a coma and we still had no idea how much brain damage had been done. By this time family and friends started pouring in and showing their support, which was a blessing. I couldn’t have doneSunday without some of my best friends and family by my side. It was a long, emotional and draining day. 

    That night I got to spend some alone time with Chase and i just held his hand while I talked to him. I tickled his arm and kept telling him I was there and to not be scared, to just relax, I was right there next to him, and would be throughout everything. 

    By Monday morning we knew we’d be getting the news soon on his brain function and I was physically sick. By this time I had hardly eaten in two days and I was exhausted and weak. At noon Elder Oaks came and gave him a beautiful blessing.  As soon as it was over, I knew in my heart Chase was not going to be with us much longer. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I just knew. 

    Hours passed and, finally, the doctors pulled us into a room and delivered the news. Chase was showing no brain function. He was brain dead. After he said those words, I just zoned out. I don’t even remember anything else he said. At the end of the conversation, he brought up taking Chase off of life support and then looked at me to get the ok. I shook my head yes with tears streaming down my face. I couldn’t believe it. This was it. Chase was not going to be here much longer with us. 

    Before the life support machines were turned off, we all took a turn being alone with him in his room for a private goodbye. I crawled into his bed, laid my head on his chest and sobbed. The tears couldn’t stop. All I could say was, “Chase, I love you so much. I love you so much.” I promised him I would always take good care of Jack and we would keep his memory alive. I apologized for all of the times I could have been a better wife, and then I gave him a final kiss on his lips. My sister then brought Jack in and we laid on the bed as a family one last time. I couldn’t believe this would be the last time our baby boy would see his Dad. My heart could hardly handle it. I just remember telling Chase that Jack would always know him, and to please take care of us. That final goodbye was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do because I knew this would be the last time Jack would ever see his Dad on this earth. 

    I walked out, handed Jack to my sister, then went into the corner of the hallway and lost it. I l felt like my life was over.  How was I ever going to overcome such a trial? I had never felt so such despair in my life. I couldn’t believe that this was actually happening to me.  I was angry, sad, and broken.

    After everyone had their alone-time with him, we all gathered in the room.  Chase and I’s bishop gave a final prayer before we unplugged him from the machines. The doctor said Chase could go fairly quickly, but we were uncertain. By this time it was around 8pm. The nurses came in and unplugged everything.  Then we just sat around his bed, held his hand, and spoke to him, hoping he’d slip away peacefully. Quickly, his breathing became labored and he seemed uncomfortable. About every 30 minutes nurses would come in to give him more sedation and pain meds to make sure he was as comfortable as possible and to keep his body calm. Hours passed, and his body kept fighting. We even said two more prayers pleading with our Heavenly Father to take him, and that we would be ok.  Finally at 3:28am, after a 7-hour valiant fight, Chase took his last breath. I remember I was at the end of his bed and I thought I was going to collapse. I had never seen someone die, so to see my own husband pass on was more than I could see or take. My Mom quickly came to my side and held me as I was overcome with emotion. I couldn’t believe it. Just like that, he was gone. I kept saying over and over, “I can’t see him like this, Mom, I can’t see him dead.  Just take me home.” So we tiredly gathered up our things and went out to the car to head home. Since my Mom didn’t know her way around Salt Lake, I drove her car with her, and my Dad drove his own. I was so numb, I didn’t even know how to get to the freeway, even though I had done that route hundreds of times. Finally, clear out in West Valley, I got my bearings and made it back to the freeway. 

    I remember walking in the house at around 4:15 am with the most empty feeling I had ever felt. I knew Jack would be waking in a few short hours and I wasn’t ready to face reality so soon. I went to our bathroom, filled up the tub, and sat in a hot bath as I cried the little bit of tears I had left.  Then I went to Chase’s closet, pulled out his favorite sweats and a big oversized sweater and crawled into bed with his pillow.  The sheets and everything smelled like him, and right then and there, I didn’t want to wake up. I just wanted to go. I know that sounds selfish, but I also wasn’t  thinking clearly and going on very little sleep and food. 

    The next few days were a blur as we prepared for Chase’s funeral, picking out his casket, deciding what flowers, and a million other little things. I had no idea how much planning (and money) went into something so depressing. The morning of the viewing Chase’s parents, his brother, Preston, and sister, Laura, and I all gathered to see Chase’s body for the first time since he passed away.  I wasn’t sure if I was ready to see him like that, but I kind of had no choice at this point. We were led into a room where his peaceful body was laying, and I was immediately breathless, sick, and shaking. We said a prayer for peace, then dressed him slowly in his temple clothing that he would be buried in. That moment was surreal, and to be quite honest, one of the harder things I had to do that week. I wasn’t quite prepared for that moment. But then again, is anyone prepared for something like that?

    Something life-changing happened when I left the funeral home that day. I remember pulling up to a red light right by Bingham High School and I looked to my right and I made eye contact with a guy in a truck next to me. I instantly thought, “this guy has no idea what I just had to do.” And right then and there I thought to myself, “how many people have I passed who were facing something so tragic in that very moment and I just walked by them not knowing?” Because of this experience, I try harder to be kinder and more patient with strangers. 

    That night was Chase’s viewing.   He had such a huge turnout, along with the funeral the next day. So many people loved Chase and he made friends wherever he went. That was one of Chase’s greatest qualities. He made everyone feel like they were his best friend and always made everyone around him feel so comfortable and special. 

    After the funeral, graveside service, and luncheon, I went to our home, grabbed the last of our stuff, and got on the road to Idaho, since I would be moving back in with my parents so I could get some help with Jack and get back on my feet. 

    Fast forward 5 months, and here I am. Today (Sep 6th) would have actually been Chase and I’s 2-year anniversary. I can truthfully say the days are getting a little easier. I still have moments with major setbacks. But, for the most part, I am starting to slowly heal. I don’t have that panic like I did those first few months where I literally felt like my soul was broken. Not that I still don’t feel that way sometimes, but I am starting to take baby steps towards a new life without Chase. And that doesn’t mean I have to forget about him to start a new beginning, because he will always be in the back of my mind until the day I die. 

    I guess if I have learned one thing from this experience, it’s to always trust my Heavenly Father’s plan. His plan was obviously different than what I had in mind.   He sees the whole picture and I have to put my trust in his hands. After all, he gave his own life so I could endure this trial. My testimony has grown leaps and bounds since Chase’s passing, and sometimes I feel guilty that it took something so tragic to wake me up. But I am thankful for the many blessings and tender mercies that have come my way since April 2nd. So many life changes, mostly hard, but some, oh, so good and life altering. 

    Like Robert D. Hales said:

    Won’t all of us, sometime, have reason to ask, “O God, where art thou?” Yes! When a spouse dies, a companion will wonder. When financial hardship befalls a family, a father will ask. When children wander from the path, a mother and father will cry out in sorrow. Yes, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Then, in the dawn of our increased faith and understanding, we arise and choose to wait upon the Lord, saying, “Thy will be done.”