Thursday, November 28, 2013

In the Spirit of Thanksgiving

I LOVE the message of this video.  Every November, it causes me to reflect about what I'm grateful, friends, food, a job.  Thankful to have loved a wonderful man who shaped me into the person he left behind to wallow in self-pity every now and again.  But, I love those who have blessed my live even in the tiniest of ways.  So...thank you!  I appreciate each one of you.


Friday, November 8, 2013


I'm usually a VERY optimistic person.  I can take trials and turn them upside down into learning experiences.  If someone tells me I can't...I will.  If someone says things could never get better, I find a way to make them even better.  I have huge wrinkles in my forehead from trying to smile all the time.  You get the picture.  It's in my nature.  I know it bugs a lot of people who just want to complain and look for the negative in the world.  "Wo is me."  Not in my vocabulary.

But not today.  It's been a hard day (and 10 days for that matter).  I've had horrible chest congestion, pain, and coughing fits like I've never had before.   I haven't felt like myself. It could be the medicine (Prednisone) I was prescribed.  The pharmacist told me "It will certainly put you on edge".  And it has.  Only, not in a mad or angry type of an edge but a "Wo is me" type of edge.  I cried and cried today after school for no real apparent reason other than a couple of sweet little first grade  journals I was reading.  Then when I got to my house, I had an overwhelming sense of loneliness.  I needed my boyfriend sitting in his chair working on his latest art piece, waiting  Why isn't he still here with me?  I need someone to vent to and to talk to about my day. I miss that daily tradition...more than usual.  And, I realized that it was only HIM that I wanted today.  Things only HE could listen to and understand.  Today there was no replacement for him.  So the tears have been my solace.

One of my fellow teachers asked me this today, "Did you go through those stages of grief after Terry died?"  My answer was that there is NO cycle.  The cycle doesn't exist...only pieces of that cycle that come along whenever they feel like it.  Randomly.  Ever so randomly.  Just when I think I've got the whole thing under control, it hits me and punches me in the throat.
I know that this giant lump in my throat will one day (most likely tomorrow) go away. The worst part is not knowing when it will lodge itself there again.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Old Lady's Bucket List

I know, I know!  Bucket lists are silly and cliche.  But, do I care?  Nope.  I gave lots of thought to my 50 life goals for my 50th birthday.  I've got some good ones and some iffy ones.  But, now I have some things to work on to keep me alive for 30-50 more years.  So, here you mocking allowed.

• Plant a full on vegetable garden...and keep it alive!
•Visit Washington D.C
• Learn at least five "go to" origami sculptures
• See Adam Levine Live
• Learn to make sushi
• See the Mona Lisa in the Louvre
• Go on a cruise
• Learn to groom dogs
• Learn the Thriller dance routine
Run a marathon Run Run another 5K
• Round out my list of continents:  Africa, Europe, Australia, and Antarctica)
• Ride a mechanical bull
• Visit the Galapagos Islands
• Go back to Sri Lanka
• Embrace Veganism for at least one consecutive year
• Watch every movie to ever win the Oscar for best picture award
• Attend a "Forks Over Knives" convention
• Ride a camel on a Wednesday  (get it?  Hump Day!)
• Stay up all night and go straight to work the next morning
• Bake a bagel from scratch
• Visit all 50 states
• Walk through a drive-thru
• Be on a game show (preferably Hollywood Game Night, The Price is Right, or Jeopardy)
• Be on a reality TV show
• Get a Phd
• Attend EVERY grandchild's baptism (just like my parents did!)
• Sell some doodles
• Refinish my bedroom furniture
• Do Habitat for Humanity
• Learn to play the harmonica
• Tour the "Downton Abbey" house
• Learn five magic tricks to mystify my friends
• Teach abroad for one year
• Learn to shoot a pistol
• Eat at the number one ranked restaurant in the world:  El Celler de Can Roca (Spain)
• Take a one week hiatus from technology
• Drive on the Autobhan
• Attend Mardi Gras
Chase a tornado Chase an ice cream truck
• Try my hand at geocaching
• Chop vegetables the way professional chefs do
•  Meet up with my online/real life friend, Pam, every year.
• Read every Newbery Award winner
• Learn to ski (I live in Utah!  I should know this by now)
• Attend Time Out For Women
• Get to level 200 on Candy Crush (so sad)
• Become a Yogi!  (Yoga expert)

I made it to 48!  I will fill in the last two with your suggestions.  Most creative wins!

Monday, July 15, 2013


 Have I mentioned that my daughters are the best daughters in the land?  Well, they are.  I turned 50 on June 7th this year.  Those darling girls made me feel like a queen.  They were surprising me at every turn.  

So...are you ready to hear all about it?  There are a lot of pictures.  You've been warned.  Here we go.

We decided to spend the day in Salt Lake City.  I hadn't been on the new Frontrunner so we parked our cars and hopped on the train.  I loved it.  It was clean and air conditioned.  And I was with my four best gals.

1.  Erika, Hazel, and me
2.  Melissa and Eloise
3.  Pretty little Hazel
4.  Melissa and Hazel
5.  Me with every wrinkle I've earned over the past 50 years.

During the ride up to SLC, the girls made an Instagram hashtag #50gramsforgramitami.  They tried to post 50 pictures of the day but only made it to 33.  That's okay because that's how old I feel!  :)  

Here are just three of the Instagrams added:
1.  My Colorado cutie, Isabel
2.  Her adorable twin brother, Milo
3.  A sneeze from my newest granddaughter, Ivy!
We made it to downtown City Creek Center and shopped our hearts out.  Every time I picked up something to buy, those daughters of mine would step in front of me and pay for it.  I had planned to buy myself some fancy readers from Brighton.  When I realized they were paying for everything, I just couldn't act excited about the glasses (even thought I was!) and said I'd just get them later.

1.  Shopping at LUSH to buy some bath bombs.  Notice Erika in the background.  According to her fingers, I'm only 5 years old!  Thanks, E.
2.  Melissa giving me a high five as I left a kids store.  Why?  Well, as I was leaving, the worker looked at Eloise in the stroller and said TO ME:  "Your daughter is so cute!"  YES!  I've still got it!
3.  Melissa paying for two orange cups I fell in love with at Anthropologie.
4.  Eloise polishing off my Diet Coke.
5.  Eloise and me trying on the Tangled wigs in the Disney store.

We ate lunch at The Blue Lemon.  I had a delicious Dirty Diet Coke.  Perfection.  Eloise even mocked a little kid who was screaming and not using very good manners.  Picture her screaming right back and then laughing hysterically.  Yup, that's what it was like.

Being the "city girls" we were, we hopped back onto TRAX and wound our way to Trolley Square so that Mel and Erika could go to Lulu Lemon and I could go to Whole Foods.  We had to walk a few blocks and it was so hot.  But we made it and no one cried.  Not even me.

1.  Melissa and Hazel cooling off in Pottery Barn.
2.  Erika looking cool in Pottery Barn.
3.  E and H in Whole Foods
5.  She hasn't stopped wearing her shades since she got them at the Disney store.

It was time to head back to Provo.  We navigated our way back to the Frontrunner and barely...and I DO mean barely...made it on time.  The doors had closed and then miraculously they opened them back up, saving us about an hour!  We were all deliriously tired and happy all at the same time.  

BUT...we weren't done yet.  We had to meet the husbands later for dinner.  So, the girls suggested pedicures.  We headed to our favorite place.  I have never taken youngsters to a nail salon and let me tell you, it probably won't happen again.  I held Eloise on my lap the whole time with Hazel in the car seat at my side.

1.  Sleepy Hazel and me waiting for TRAX.
2.  She's done.
3.  My view whilst getting my toes done.
4.  The little Vietnamese lady handing Hazel off to her mom.  By the way she was holding Hazel, we didn't know if she thought Haz had cooties or what.  We were terrified that she' drop that little girl.  She didn't...hallelujah!
5.  Our finished toes.

After pedicures it was close to 6:00 and Tyler ended up having to "work extra hours and wouldn't be able to meet us for dinner."  That was just fine.  We went to a favorite spot, Mountain West Burrito!  Yum!  Veggie and Vegan options there.  Luckily, Danny was able to come with us.  We had a fun, leisurely, and delicious meal.  I was ready to head home.  But the girls suggested we go to "The Chocolate" for their famous Kazookie.  My plan was to switch to a Vegan diet the next day so I thought a last bite of ice cream would be just the thing to end the day.  Luckily, Tyler was able to meet us there.

WEeeelllllll...I was carrying Eloise up the stairs chatting with Tyler as I went.  When to my SURPRISE I looked up and there was a room full of friends and family.  At first I thought "What the heck are Rachel and Janelle doing here?"  Then many people in my life came into view.  Then it hit me:  I was at my very first surprise party and it was for ME!  Those girls!   I had no idea.  I usually pick up on those kinds of things.  Not this time.  Maybe turning 50 had dulled my senses.  

(This time I'll label top to bottom, left to right)
1.  My delicious Mountain West Burrito
2.  Brant (my nephew), Janelle and Rachel (my fellow first grade teachers), Me w/Hazel, Angela and her daughter Lecshia (next door neighbors from Lehi), Adrianne (my niece), and Erika.
3.  Kathy (her husband was there as well but not pictured) and Melissa my friends from work.  Melissa moved to Blanding last year and drove five hours just to come to my party.  Ahhhhh!
4.  Me with Eloise and the green wall.
5.  Me with Hazel, Sarah (one of my fake daughters), Erika, and Melissa.  See that space?  That was a special place for another pretend daughter, Mallory, who couldn't come because she lives in Belgium!  I'll forgive her.  Her mother, Sue, came in her place (no picture, unfortunately).
5.  No comment.
6.  Those two amazing daughters of mine!
7.  Melissa and me, again, with Rachel (another friend I used to teach with).
8.  Again:   I just realized that this is the same picture as number one but with Brant cropped out!  Sorry Brant.

I can't believe I didn't have photos of:  Sue, Ariel (Brant's wife), Lynn (Kathy's husband), Danny!, Tyler!, Danny's mother, Linda, his sister Mia, and Mia's boyfriend, Kiegan.  Plus, I missed:  Jordan (Sarah's husband) and, of course, I missed my boyfriend.

I went to bed a very happy woman that night.  I was reminded what a great family I have.  Also, what amazing friends I have (both old and new).  I'm a lucky person.  I know it.  Another thing I first 50 years were awesomely unique and never boring.  I really am looking forward to the next 50.  I have the bucket list to prove it.  (Another post for another day).

PS:  Those girls had one more surprise for me...Erika had secretly sneaked back to Brighton and bought me my insanely expensive readers.  I think of this lovely birthday every time I put them on.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


The most comforting words I have heard or read since the worst day were sent to my by a friend.  (Thanks, Julie)  Every time I have read it through, every time, I hear Terry speaking the words to me.  I love them.  I love him.  

Death is Nothing at All

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?

I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.

All is well. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013


This Friday, I will turn 50 years old.  There.  I said it.  I've been thinking a lot about that number.  When my own dear mum was 50, she had a 10 year  I can't imagine having a 10 year old right now.  She was quite the woman.  Several of my friends have turned 50 this year and some had turned 50, years ago.   I will be 50.  You will be 50.  I'm beginning to understand that 50 is just a number.  A number  I'm sort of proud of.

With this upcoming milestone, I've been thinking a lot about bucket lists.  Things that, now that I'm "over the hill" I will aspire to complete before my life is over...I'm on the downside now ya know!  I have a great list.  I'm going to share it here on the old blog.  But not today.  Today, I've been thinking of all the things I've actually DONE with the first 50 years.  I've been told I should write a book about my life.  No one would read it, I'm sure.  BUT, maybe they would read my life's story in list form?  Please realize that this list isn't meant as a big, braggy "look at my awesomeness" blog pose.  I like to think of it as a reminder to myself that my life hasn't been wasted so far.  That I've had some unique experiences that I won't have to add to my future Bucket List, because, for better or worse, I've already lived them.  They have shaped and molded me into who I am today...for better or worse!

So, here is the completed First 50 Year Bucket List I Didn't Know I Had Made:
(in no particular order)

•     Rode an elephant through the jungles of Sri Lanka.
•     Saw the Atlantic Ocean.
•     Saw the Pacific Ocean.
•     Dipped my toe in the Indian Ocean.
•     Ate a cricket (or two)
•     Used an Eastern toilet every day for three months.
•     Met Jared, the Subway sandwich guy.
•     Lost 150 pounds.
•     Visited the following historical or iconic North American cities:  NYC, Boston, Chicago, LA, Seattle, St. Paul, Portland, Boise, Phoenix, Helena, Denver, Sacramento, Kansas City (Missouri), Kansas City (Kansas), Las Vegas, Reno, Sante Fe, New Orleans, Albuquerque, Houston, St. Paul, Nauvoo, Cheyenne, Miami, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Regina, Winnepeg, and Tijuana!  (Yes, that last one is an iconic city!)
•     Kissed a pig.
•     Born and raised in Cardston, Alberta, Canada.
•     Taught myself to quilt.
•     Graduated from Ricks College
•     Graduated from BYU
•     Wrote a Master's Thesis on gender equity in elementary school.
•     Sang Karaoke (Kanye West's "GoldDigger")
•     Been to Disneyland.
•     Have successfully constructed many pieces of IKEA furniture.
•     Have taught for 26 years.
•     Went repelling in Southern Utah.
•     Have lost many family and friends to the next life:  My dad, my mom, my sister Donna, Kyle (nephew), Randi (niece), both sets of grandparents, my all.
•     Have spoken at four funerals. (Mom, Dad, Donna, and Terry)
•     Saw my first marriage die after only three years in it.
•     Birthed two daughters only 13 months apart.  (My biggest accomplishment thus far!)
•     Was a single mother for 7 years.
•     Wed the man of my dreams (Terry Anderson)
•     Became a step-mother to 4 children and 2 in laws.
•     Became a step-grandmother.
•     Sealed in the temple to my Terry by my very own father!
•     Been white water rafting.
•     Flown in a two seater airplane over the Arizona desert.
•     Teacher of the year 2012.
•     97% computer savvy.
•     Was a radio show host of "Scripture Stories" on The Mormon Channel.
•     Drove a school bus about 50 yards.
•     Got kicked off a school bus when I was in Grade 3 for making lewd comments that I didn't know I was making...thanks a lot Scott Olsen!)
•     Drove a three-wheeled taxi around a parking lot in Sri Lanka.
•     Served an LDS mission to the Singapore mission which included Malaysia, and Sri Lanka.
•     I taught English in a Buddhist girls school, a Hindu college, and a Methodist college.  (see above)
•     Picked tea leaves alongside "real" tea leaf pickers in Sri Lanka.  I have the lice to prove it!  (just kidding)
•     Visited three continents:  North America, Asia, and South America.
•     Have eaten entire meals just using my right utensils.  It tastes better that way.
•     Young Women's President
•     Became a Diet Coke drinker (best decision of my life!  Hm.....)
•     Took up yoga and love it to this very day.
•     Stood on the equator.
•     Raised over $1000 for charity.
•     Am a member of an online community whose members I consider dear friends.  They were amazing at keeping me afloat after Terry died.  I love them.
•     Had 11 major surgeries...and lived to tell about them.
•     Taught myself how to make French Macarons.
•     Created and maintain an online business.
•     Been on CNN
•     Had the same BFF for the past 23 years!

There you have it!  50 +2 accomplishments in my life.  Now...on to the next 50!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Happy 58th Birthday, Terry!

April 29, 2013 was my boyfriend's 58th birthday.
We celebrated in true "Anderson Style".

On Saturday, we invited Terry's daughter Melissa and her twins Lyla and Olivia to hang out at Hangtime in Orem.  So much fun.  Those trampolines are the bomb.  I've still got some energy left in my body.  I could go there every day.  Remembering Terry by doing something enjoyable is the best way to remember a special occasion.
We did it up right.

Then, on Sunday, the 29th Melissa and Danny, Erika and Tyler, and Eloise and Hazel all met at the cemetery.  Melissa baked a delicious cake.  I brought the 58 candles, forks, kazoos, and a ribbon wand for impromptu dancing...which we did.
Terry was there.
We felt him. 
All it took was for darling Danny to pick up a match and light a kazoo on fire.  I caught myself chastising him in the exact same way I would have told Terry to blow it out.
let's face a kazoo on fire for the fun of it would be exactly what Terry would have done.

Kudos to Danny.

After digging into the cake, we had an impromptu dance off with the ribbon wand.  I'm not really sure who won.  Secretly, I think that I was the winner because I got to witness my 
children being silly.

I was so in love with them all.
Which made me love my boyfriend that much more...if that could be even possible.

Daughter's, sons-in-law, and babies somehow balance a world of hurt and longing for the love of my life who was taken way too soon.

I miss him terribly. 
But, I love him and know we will meet again.

In the meantime, I have all of these precious children to love.

I'm so lucky.

Oops!  We left him a little bit of his favorite food:  chocolate!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Few Things I Have Learned From "Pretty Little Liars"

  1.    People sure do drink a lot of coffee
  2.   Mom's are super skinny.
  3.   All high school kids wear designer clothes.
  4.   It's okay for high school teacher to have a fling with one of his students...if she's hot.
  5.   If you send an anonymous note to your frenemies make sure that you sign your name with the first letter in your name --A
  6.   When a "bad" guy starts chasing you in a church, DO NOT run UP the stairs to the bell tower.  There is a pretty big chance there will be nowhere else to run.
  7.  Thank goodness for cellphones 
  8.  Rich people don't own dogs.
  9.   Toby reminds me of Rip Esselsyn.  (google it)
  10. Don't wear you dead friends clothes, even if it is for a fundraiser.
  11.  It doesn't matter if you turn on a light, you can see just as well in dim or no light at all.
  12.  Never trust a shifty police officer. 
  13.  What would we ever do without texting?
  14. If I want to be a good liar, I should probably let my hair grow.
  15. Everyone needs a satchel two times bigger than her head.
  16.   Always, Always explore the basement of a hospital if given the chance.
  17. When told to walk more quietly use the comeback, "It's FINE!  Jenna's blind!"  umm?
  18. Apparently the best liar boyfriends have to have dark hair.
  19. If your dad leaves your family, don't worry, he'll most likely sleep over every now and then.
  20. NO ONE looks good in a candy stripers apron...well, maybe Spencer but that's it!
BONUS:  I'm predicting here and now that "A" really is Jenna.  AND that she spies on everyone through a small recorder inside those tacky stuffed animals.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hazel Rae Senneff

Guess what?  I'm a grami again.  I'm sure that if you even remotely know me, you would know that already.  But, nevertheless, I am.  I am ecstatic!  Here's are my numbers  where the grands are concerned:

Josh:  1 grandson:  Royan (15)
Spencer:  2 grandsons:  Milo (9) and Keeler (4)  1 grand-daughter: Isabel (9)
Melissa:  2 grand-daughters: Olivia (5) and Lyla (5)
Abbie: 1 grandson: Eli (6) and 1 grand-daugher: Audrie (4) AND one due in May!!  (I know it's a girl but they are waiting to find out...which I LOVE!)
Erika:  2 grand-daughters:  Eloise (22 months) and HAZEL (one month old!)
Melissa:  TBD

Hazel Rae was born on Martin Luther King Jr. Day just before midnight.  The Monday holidays are a big thing in our family.  Well, we'd like to think so.  You see, Eloise was born on Memorial Day and Terry passed away on President's Day.  Now, we have a MLK birthday.  I can't wait to find out what will happen on Labor Day!!

Remember when El was born?  I do.  I was there and witnessed her first breath.  It was the most amazing thing I'd ever seen.  This time around, Erika and Tyler wanted to go it alone.  I definitely respect that...expecially since I got to watch Eloise while they went in.

Erika was in labor for a short THREE hours.  ONLY THREE HOURS!  I was so proud of her.  She was such a trooper.  Melissa and I claim full credit for sending her into labor.  The night before, Erika expressed that she was so sick of being pregnant.  She was uncomfortable and ready to pop.  She had already tried the regular ways to spur labor on:  walking, bumpy car rides, exercise, etc.  Well, I asked my online friends to suggest labor inducing techniques they had tried.  One of them suggested reflexology. We were on that one quick.

We looked it up on Youtube (best invention ever) and found out the sweet spots that would help bring Hazel into the world.  We even added our own zen-like chanting.  As we each had a foot and leg we were massaging, we got slaphappy and chanted "TO THE EARTH!" trying to summon little Hazel to make her entrance.

It worked!!

Hazel came "to the Earth" the very next day, less than 24 hours after her invitation.

No amount of words could express or describe meeting a grandchild for the first time.  The love that exudes and fills the hospital room is otherworldly.  Something I am always overcome with is an intense love for my daughter.  What a brave girl my Erika is.  She made me proud of her strength once again.  She's twice as strong as I ever was or will be.

For lack of are some of the photos from the day.  Pictures truly speak louder than words.  Enjoy!

We felt him there.

Being a Grami is my favorite!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Worst Day

There is actually a lead up to "The Worst Day"...the day I lost my boyfriend.  My love.  My life.  My Terry.  As many of you know, Terry's physical life was a struggle with chronic pain.  He had several back surgeries throughout his life beginning in High School.  His back was his main obstacle but after a car accident earlier in our marriage, his neck injuries left him in a constant state of pain.  We tried everything to treat that pain so that he could have some quality of life.  Pain medication, trigger shots, prolotherapy, exercise, and more.  Anything to manage his pain.

Terry always put on a great face for everyone.  He was more concerned about how you were doing than with himself.  His infectious smile may have fooled others (which was what he wanted) but, it didn't fool me.  I could always tell when the pain was raging within him.  It breaks my heart to think back at the handful of people who unkind to Terry because he was a little "off", or that he was slow (I'm guilty of impatience on this one).  Those who brushed him off for whatever reason.  His valiant spirit and strength to work and play through his pain.

He contracted pneumonia at least once each year.  It was always pretty bad.  His fever would rage into dangerously high numbers.  Many times we had to take him to the ER to get it back to normal.

The two weeks leading up to Terry's death he was not well.  I would suggest he go to the doctor but, he thought it would pass and everything would be okay.  But it wasn't.  The night before "the worst day" he was in bed all day.  He tried to come down to visit the girls and their husbands...and Eloise.  However, Melissa saw him heading for the stairs and told me he was up.  I rushed upstairs to turn him around and to head back to bed.  I gave him a glass of ice water and cooled his head and face with a cold washcloth.

I would often sleep in the guest room when Terry was ill.  That night was no exception.  After the girls left, I once again went in to Terry and refreshed his drink and cooled him down again.  I told him I'd check on him  in a while.  Then, around 11:00pm, just before I headed to bed, I went in one last time ("one last time" makes me so sad).  I found him kneeling on the floor by the bed.  It looked like he might be looking for something.  So, I went to him and asked "What are you doing?"  I was a bit perturbed that he hadn't followed my orders and stayed in the bed.  He didn't answer so I asked it again, maybe with a little sharpness in my voice, "What are you doing?"  Then he replied with the last words I'd ever hear from him:

"Well, maybe I was just trying to say my prayers."

 I felt like a heartless wife when he told me that.  Of course he was praying.  He always prayed before getting in bed for the night.  Why hadn't I thought of that and knelt down beside him?  Instead, I helped him back to bed.  Put the sheet on him and asked if we should go to the ER.  He shook his head "no".  I told him that if he wasn't better in the morning, we were definitely going to the ER.  He shook his head "yes" and I kissed his forehead for the last time.  Then, I went to bed.  And that was the last time I saw him alive.

The next morning, being President's Day, I slept in until about 8:30 before I went in to check on Terry. I quietly opened the door in case he was sleeping.  Sleep was always a gift for him so I didn't want to run the risk of waking him if I didn't have to.  I peeked into the room.  All was still.  Leo, out little maltese, was sitting upright by Terry's head.  "Good" I thought.  And I quietly closed the door to let him sleep.

Around 2:00 pm, I repeated the last scenario.  Nothing had changed.  Leo was still sitting in the exact same position as before.  This was very strange because Leo would have normally jumped down to come to me.  I knew that something wasn't right.  I decided to wake Terry to take his temperature again and to see if his fever had broken.  What I found there has changed my life forever.  It's the scene that has tortured my life since then.  I grabbed his hand.  Of course, I knew.  I knew he was gone.  I knew he wasn't coming back to me.  I didn't know what to do.  I still felt for a pulse.  I was hyperventilating.  How could this be?  I touched his face.  I looked into his eyes.  It was just a body.

I didn't know what to do.  So, I called my best friend, Kathe.  I remember saying something like "I think Terry's dead".  She asked if I'd called 911 and then quite forcefully told me to do it and I did.  The rest of the day was a blur.  People say that all the time and now I know what it means.  I have muddy memories of ambulance and police car sirens.  Of the EMT showing up.  Of the pity that was in their eyes as they confirmed that my boyfriend was gone.  Of people arriving.  Of sending people away.  Of the excruciating pain in my daughters's eyes...probably reflecting my own.

I remember that my son-in-law took on the difficult task of notifying all of Terry's children.  Bless him. I remember that Kathe and her husband made it to me in record time from Springville.  The calls, the texts, the emails, the Facebook notes...all a blur.  All I wanted to do was be alone and to go back to bed and to wake up again and find that this had all been a dream.

It wasn't a dream.  It was real.  I had lost the only man I had ever TRULY loved.  And the only man (besides my dad) who had TRULY loved me.  It was the worst day.  The worst.  I prayed and prayed that the image I had when I found that Terry could be taken from my memory.  It wasn't.  Even now, the scene replays in my mind and I feel like my insides are on fire.  Maybe someday it will be erased.

I love him, so.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Voice

This is not about my favorite tv show "The Voice" but rather it is a short post about the voice.  This morning I've been playing and replaying my voicemail.  I have six messages from Terry that I've never (or will never) delete.

His voice.

He had the greatest voice.  I'm so blessed to have heard it every day and night for 15 years. It is torture to listen to the messages.  Torture to sit here crying and longing for him to be beside me.  Torture to still be able to read into the words he was saying and know when he was sad, cold, nervous, optimistic, and (most tortuous of all) in love with me.

The message I repeat over and over contains these words:

"Hi!  I love you.  I just wanted you to know that.  I hope you've had a great day today.  We'll see you when you get home.  Bye bye."

Just 28 words.  How can I treasure 28 words above all other words I have heard spoken or that I have read?  His voice was like none I have ever heard before.  He had a great way of expressing himself.  He was a man whose voice could calm a hysterical grown child when injustice was served to her.  He was a man whose voice could reassure a daughter in the troughs of child labor to know that she could push that baby out because she was made with "Canadian blood" in her veins.  His voice could ward off questionable suiters yet be perfectly welcoming to the many young men and women who spent their youth in our home every weekend.  His voice could summon angels to the many family and friends in need of special blessing.  His voice could pray with fervent strength and thanks when he prayed.  His voice could always lift me when I was sad, make me laugh hysterically when I needed a laugh, and could help me fall into sleep at night with just a soothing whisper in my ear,  "I love you"

His voice.  I miss it.  And him.

I'll bet it was a GREAT story!!

Friday, February 15, 2013

One Last Date

Yesterday was the one year mark of the last date night I ever went on with my boyfriend.  Of course, it was Valentine's Day.  We went to Outback.  It was delicious.  Looking back now, I realize that I had some feelings then that I dismissed but have bothered me ever since. 

First, all of the good thoughts I had.   I remember looking at him sitting across the table and thinking that I was a lucky, lucky woman.  Here was a man who loved me without question.  Even when I was a brat or quiet or moody.  He was so polite and personable with the hostess, the waitress, the manager, the strangers sitting across the aisle from us, the couple who returned looking for a cell phone they thought they had left in our booth, and to me.  I felt proud.  Just proud that I got to be part of his life. To know that he loved me for being my flawed self.

Then came the confusing feelings I felt.  As my heart filled with an overwhelming love for Terry, I also had thoughts come to mind that THIS was an important date with him.  I looked at his hands intensely.  I love his hands.  I felt as though something way, way deep inside of me wanted to memorize everything about him that I'd seen a thousand times before but felt like I was just noticing for the first time.  Then, (and this is the weird part) I had this feeling that I wouldn't have him with me much longer.  He wasn't well.  He had been suffering from the flu off and on for a long time.  He also had been having trouble with his lungs...pneumonia! He just couldn't shake it.  But for that one night, he was there sitting across the table.  

He must have been having similar thoughts.  When I told him that I expected him to make it to our 20th anniversary, he just laughed.  He said "You know I won't last that many more years."  That only made me mad.  He had always told me throughout our entire marriage that he would die young.  His dad had died young of a heart attack.  His brother-in-law had died young leaving his wife to raise small children on her own.  The same with his nephew.  I always thought that he was merely saying those things because the odds were stacked against him.  And they were.  

He suffered silently for so long.  Of course, I probably knew him best and knew when he was struggling.  He put on a good front to hide all the pain he had the burdon of carrying since his High School years.  He suffered emotionally as he hoped and prayed that his children would make a connection with him after his divorce.  (which they did!)  He was such a good man.  He would always tell me that my job was harder taking care of him that it was for him to live with chronic pain.  Always thinking of others...that was my Terry.

So, this picture is one of the last pictures I would ever take of Terry.  It was taken from an app I had called "Action Movie".  He got the biggest kick out of it.  He wanted to see it over and over.  But, what was hysterical then, is morbid now.  You can film a short clip and then a bomb comes flying through the air and blows up the subject.  Like I said, not the greatest thing NOW.  But he did love seeing it.  I can hear his laugh now.  Oh, that laugh.

I love him.  I miss him.  I hope I can hold it all together over the next few days.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

In The Beginning...

The other night I was looking through some files trying to find pictures of Terry from when we were dating.  I couldn't find any of them (but I will) and instead, I came across some cards and letters that I wrote to him throughout our marriage.  I found the love letter I wrote to him before we were married that he always declared as "The moment I knew I'd marry you!"  I found a letter I wrote when I was 16 years old "To my future husband"  (HA!).  THAT was interesting.  I found little notes I had written and put into his luggage when he had to travel to Portland for work.  I remember tucking them throughout his pants, socks, shirts, shoes, etc.  They are super corny and I love them.

Terry and I met at (of all the embarrassing places) at a single's dance!  After Terry had been divorced for a while, his bishop challenged him to go to a few of the dances so that he could get out and meet people.  My friend, Tina, made me promise to go to ONE with her.  I guess the stars were aligned when I met Terry at my first dance!  I remember dancing a couple of dances with him and talking a little about who we were.  You know, the regular chit chat.  I thought he was a nice guy (even IF the shirt he was wearing had a mandarin collar and he was wearing cowboy boots).

The next dance rolled around and Tina asked begged me to go again.  So, I did.  I remember that I was standing with my friend when Terry walked by.  I reached out and touched his arm and said "Hello, Terry!"  We spent the rest of the evening together.  He told me that no one ever remembered his name.  We ended up going to Denny's.  He had mozzarella sticks and I had fries.  We talked and talked.  And I really loved it when he asked "Do you prefer holding hands THIS way (fingers enlaced) or THIS way (hands cupped)?"  I mean, who asks that??  That became a running joke over the next 15 years.

When we got back to my car, he opened my door (as he would do 1000 times over) and gave me a sweet kiss on the lips.

And so it began...

The very first picture I ever took of my boyfriend.
(notice the sunflowers in the background?!)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super Bowl XLI

As most of you know, Terry's favorite football team in the history of football was the Chicago Bears.  He had been a fan since they won Super Bowl XX.  He had every Chicago Bears cap ever made!  It was rare to see him without a Bears cap on.  Seriously!  He actually had a "dress" Bears cap for when he went to "fancy places".  The way he talked, it seemed he knew every player personally...that's just Terry!

So, when the Bears returned to the Super Bowl in 2007, you can imagine the energy in our house.  The girls and I really weren't that big into football but we knew how much Terry was.  (I just wanted to watch Prince perform...or was it the artist formerly known as Prince?  Whatever.)  So, we all donned Bears shirts and hats, gathered every food that had anything to do with Bears, or was orange or navy, and put on a Super Bowl party of the year.

The Bears lost to the Colts 29-17.  (ya, I had to look that up)  But, Terry wasn't heart broken.  He didn't even swear.  He was just proud of his Bears!

We missed him today.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


 “When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” 
--Ansel Adams

Friday, February 1, 2013

Turning Pages

I had no idea that when I woke up this morning, I'd feel the feelings I experienced all day.  When I went to my paper calendar, ready to turn the page to a new month, I couldn't do it.  I couldn't turn the page.  February punched me in the face and I froze.  If I turned the page, I would see that it had been a year since I lost my Terry.  Turning the page would make it real.  I would have to admit that I'd been a widow for an entire year.  So, I didn't turn it.  I left it on January.

I thought about Terry for the rest of the day.  I have been teary and sentimental and I don't think it will get any easier as the month goes on, regardless if I turn that page or not.  Last year on this very day, I had only 20 more days with my boyfriend.  I wish I'd have known that.  Maybe then I would have been  kinder.  More patient.  More affectionate.  More.

Erika needed my help with Eloise today.  I was more than excited to pick her up for a change of scenery...both for her AND for me.  Yesterday, I took her to the mall and to do a little shopping.  I wasn't sure where I'd take her today.  When we got in the car, though, I had a yearning that pulled me to visit the cemetery.  I honestly haven't gone very often.  Mostly for special days or on visits with the family.  So it was odd that I felt that need.

The cemetery was covered with snow.  Here and there were headstones that families had cleared and placed flowers, plants, the usual.  I felt guilty that Terry's remained under snow.  I found it easily because I had marked the grave with an Oilers windmill from my nephew Taylor.  It made me smile to see it poking out of the snow like a waving hand saying "here I am".

I carried Eloise over the snow and kicked off as much snow and ice as I could then set her down.  I uncovered his name and missed him more.  I didn't bother to uncover my name.  That's just too weird still.  I had El "help" me fashion two hearts out of snow...One from me and one from her.  It felt very sweet to be there with her.  When it was time to go, I picked her back up and started walking away.  I told her to say "bye bye".  She put her little hand in the air and waved and surprised me by saying "Bye bye, Pop Pop!"   I stopped in my tracks.  "What did you say?"  "Bye Bye Pop Pop!"  The tears came again.  I'd never heard her say that before.  I still can't believe it.  We talk to her about Terry as "Pop Pop" quite often.  But, how did she know to say it then?

I've resigned myself to allowing my feelings to manifest in any way they might during this month.  I'm not going to stifle them.  Sometimes I think that when I try to hide my feelings or say "I'm good" when people ask, that I'm only making things worse inside of me.  I'm sick of being strong and acting like everything is moving along swimmingly.  Yet, I suppose, that's who I am.  I can't publicly mope.  I can't publicly cry.  Like Terry would always brag "You've got that strong Canadian blood in you!" I will just go on.  I will pretend everything is fine.  But somedays it tears me up inside.

I returned home tonight determined to turn that calendar page.  When I stood back in front of it, I just couldn't do it.  So, for now, I'll pretend that January has 32 days and hope that I can turn that page tomorrow.

Monday, January 28, 2013


Sometimes, I look at my daughters and can't believe they came from me.  Both are so much better than I could ever hope to be.  Better than I ever was.  Better wives.  Better humans.  Better.  Their minds are keener than mine.  Their faith stronger.  Their drive and ambition are limitless.

Somedays my heart is so full of pride that I feel I might burst.  Just see if you don't agree...

Melissa created THIS:

A knitted and original design
(sorry so blurry)

Erika created THIS:

An original design!
Together, they created THIS:

See what I mean?

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