Monday, October 31, 2016

To the Man in Ohio Who Told My Son "Go Kill Yourself"


My son works for a market research company. That means he called you yesterday to ask you to take survey, nothing more. He was only doing his job. I realize that you don't want to be bothered. I get that really I do, especially on a Sunday afternoon. You made that clear by telling my son that he shouldn't be calling on a Sunday because it was a sacred day. My son apologized and you then proceeded to berate him by telling him he was worthless, and that his job is stupid, all punctuated by lovely profane and very un-sacred words. To top it all off you told him "Go kill yourself."

My son was already feeling bad because the call he that he had just finished was a lady that thought my son was her brother calling. Their mom had just died. She started talking to him like he was her brother and she broke down crying telling him "Mom's dead." My son apologized and had to explain that he wasn't who she thought it was. He told her that what he was calling about was irrelevant and apologized again, he felt horrible. He knows what it is to lose people he loves.

Then he got connected to you.

Let me tell you about my son. He is working at this job so he can earn money to be able to go on a trip to Europe at the end of his Senior year in high school with his AP art class. He loves art and has a talent for drawing. He loves camping and hiking and air soft. After graduation he wants to go to college and work in outdoor recreation. He is funny and bright. He has a tender heart that cares and feels things very deeply.

He also struggles with depression. He has had thoughts of suicide and has made at least one attempt. We have been working hard with him to get him to a place where these feelings are manageable. He ended up having to leave work early yesterday because of the things that you said to him. His supervisors were on the line and heard what was said. They told him that yours was the most brutal call that they have heard come through.

When my oldest son (who has autism) heard what had happened he was very angry and wanted justice. We tried to explain to him that really, there was no way that justice could be served. He was so angry.

I am I angry? Yes.
Am I sad? Yes.
Is there anything I can do about what happened?
No, not really.

I have to tell myself that maybe you were just having a bad day. You are obviously a very angry man and it's very possible there are bad things that have happened to you in your life that have made you this way. Maybe the only way that you can feel good about yourself is to tear down a 17 year old kid who randomly called your house and tell him he should take his own life.

I feel sorry for you. Your life cannot be a happy one.

I hope and pray that you can find some peace. That maybe one day you will be in a place where you don't need to belittle others. That if another call comes through on a Sunday that you can ignore it or just hang up instead of trying to bring others down into the vile darkness where you now reside.

As for me and my son? I will continue to let him know that he is needed here on this earth. No one else can take his place. That he is loved and incredible and important. As we all are.

Even you.


A Mom

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Turning Corners

There is a corner that I have been going back to. A turn that I have taken many times in my life. I have taken this turn less and less with the passage of time but I still have been known to make it.

(Oh you don't have one of these corners? It's just me?)

It is a corner that I turn when I am looking back on my life and wondering if I have made the best choices. I don't like making that turn. I know it's not healthy to do so. I should be looking forward. Moving forward. Not turning back towards the past.

Yesterday I came to that corner. And was able to walk right by. There was still an urge to look down that street that the corner leads to but I didn't even look. I just held my head high, my gaze forward and kept right on going.

My life is good.

It's hard but it's good and I love it.

I love the people in it.

And I don't need to go back anymore.

It would seem that I have turned a new corner.

Friday, May 6, 2016

How Did She Do It?

How did she do it?
Giving birth to her first three children in three years. The beginning of bringing eight children into this world. Having a breakdown after that third child came along.

How did she do it?
When she was seven months pregnant with her seventh child (me), getting the call that dad had been an explosion and had been badly burned on his hands and face. Helping him recover and make it through, giving birth not long after the accident and dealing with a newborn baby the whole while.

How did she do it?
Getting up before dawn every day to make sure dad had a good breakfast before he went to work and packing him a lunch in his black metal lunch box.

How did she do it?
Making bread from scratch every Saturday. And scrubbing a linoleum floor on her hands and knees. A floor that had holes in it, so that the house would be clean for the Sabbath day.

How did she do it?
Milking cows, weeding the gardens, snipping beans, pitting cherries, canning fruit and vegetables, making endless peanut butter and honey sandwiches for the many mouths of her children as well as their friends. Cooking dinners from scratch every night.

How did she do it?
Spend endless hours in hospitals and emergency rooms and waiting rooms as dad went through one medical procedure after another. (I think he had 15 major surgeries)

How did she do it?
Sleeping on our couch for years and years because it was too difficult physically for dad to share a bed and there weren't enough rooms for her to have her own.

How did she do it?
Watching her children make mistakes and choices that caused heartache and pain. Having one run away from home at 15. And have others spending time in jail and prison.

How did she do it?
Make every one of those eight children feel like they were the favorite and the most important. And letting them know that she loved them no matter where they were or what choices they made.

How did she do it? 
Mixing up sourdough pancakes for the amazing Fourth of July breakfasts. Cooking chili and packing a weeks worth of food for deer camp.

How did she do it? 
Bury her husband, a daughter and her mother within a few short years.

How did she do it? 
This question has been playing over and over in my mind as I have been faced with my own trials as a mother. Especially these last two years since she's been gone.

I haven't been able to ask her but I think I know how she did it.

Let me tell you.

She did it in white tennis shoes.
Those shoes took her on walks around the neighborhood and up to the pulpit in sacrament meeting to share her testimony.

She did it on her knees.
Often kneeling by the couch  that was her bed or the recliner in the front room. There were many times that I would come in to the living room to find her on her knees speaking to her Heavenly Father seeking guidance and direction.

She did it through searching the scriptures.
Oh how she loved the Book of Mormon! Her copies were well used and worn and marked lovingly with tear stained pages.

She did it through temple attendance.
Serving in the temple both as a temple worker and as a patron. She loved attending the temple. One of my fondest memories from childhood is watching my mom ironing her temple clothes and the reverence she showed while doing so.

But mostly she did it by relying on the Savior and His Atonement and by doing her best to follow in His footsteps, wearing those famous white tennis shoes.

She did it with an all encompassing  love.

Her love for everyone and everything came shining out of her face. Her eyes. Her smile.

She loved.

That is how she did it.

I am forever grateful for that love. I miss her every day but I still can feel her love. It sustains me and carries me forward on those difficult days when I ask "How can I do this?"

I can do it with love.

And so can you.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Lifetime

It was just over a year ago that our daughter, Jillian came out to our family as gay. I sent my husband a message on the year anniversary that said "It's been one year since Jillian came out." His response?
"Yes, it has been a lifetime since then."
Truer words were never spoken. We have dealt with so very many things in this past year. 
So many things.
In all honesty, I didn't have too much of a struggle with everything until November when the LDS church changed it's policy about people who are in same sex relationships. I'm sure many of you are aware of this policy change. If you are not Google can help.
That evening as I learned of the change I crawled into bed and sobbed. My sweet McKenna came and just sat with me as I cried, not knowing what I was crying for, because I was crying so much that I couldn't speak.
Mostly I hurt because it felt like the church that I love, that proclaims love; seemed like it was rejecting my child. My beautiful, funny, amazing child. Who is just as much a child of Heavenly Parents as you or I.
That hurt spilled out onto social media. And tried my best to explain my feelings in earlier blog posts that you can read HERE and HERE
I had many private and public messages of love and support. There were also private messages asking me, with love and respect, the question, "How does this affect your family?" I tried to answer the best I could but my answers were short and probably not well thought out, and some I don't think I answered at all because I was too raw to go over it all again.
I will tell you this, I have cried more since November of 2015 than I have in my entire life. Tears will just start leaking out, as I go over and over and over this in my mind. To say it's a hamster wheel would be a kind way of putting it. I have wanted to share what I feel but I just don't know how to put it into words.
Sometimes I wish there was a way to communicate spirit to spirit, to truly have a "Heart to Heart" conversation. This life would be so much easier if that were possible. Don't you think? But that is not to be. All I can do is share and hope that a sliver of what I feel comes through. And in sharing I also put myself out there for ridicule and judgement. That's scary.
And because it's scary (and because of some judgement that has already occurred) I am still reluctant to share exactly what it is I am feeling.
Let me be perfectly clear. We have been surrounded by such love and support from family, friends, and our new ward. It's truly amazing. Our family has been lifted by your love and we have felt your prayers.
And I still hurt. My heart physically hurts.
I wish I could explain it but I can't. I want to explain it, but when I try to put it down there really are no words that can describe the pain.
Since November of last year, in just three months, there have been 32 suicides in the LDS LGBTQ Community.


That is why I hurt. People are dying. The average age of those 32? Seventeen years old.
Children are dying.
Because they feel unwanted and unloved.
Today this article was published in the Deseret News. It's a good article. I HIGHLY recommend taking some extra time and reading it thoroughly.

LDS Church leaders mourn reported deaths in Mormon LGBT community

The church leaders mourn but what about the general population of the church? Do you mourn?Sometimes, and I don't know why or where it comes from, but the feeling that comes through when someone who is gay commits suicide, is a Scrooge like one of...

"If they'd rather die, then they had better do it and decrease the surplus population."
So, yes, I hurt.
We have so far to go. I have so far to go when it comes to showing Christlike love.
Please, please, please...


Be kind to those around you.
Speak words of love and acceptance because you never know who is listening.  
You could have a child who is gay and is too scared to say anything because of the words they hear you speaking or the jokes that you tell. There may be someone in your ward who has a child who is gay but is too afraid to say anything because they know they will find no support or love. There may be a member of your Young Women's or Young Men's group who feels lost and alone and worthless because of lessons that are being taught. You may have a brother or sister that is afraid to come forward and feels unloved.
Reach out to people. Love them. Treat them with respect. Be Kind.
And if you are someone, gay or not, who is struggling with feelings of in inadequacy, loneliness, heartache and despair. Please know you are loved and important and wanted
Don't hurt yourself. This world needs you. I need you.  
Even if I don't know you, know this...

****And if you really would like to have a conversation with me we can go to lunch or for a walk or a drive or even talk on the phone (although I hate talking on the phone) and I will do my best to explain.  If you will do your best to just listen and understand.

Monday, January 11, 2016

You Are Loved

This is for my husband and my children and their friends

This is for my brothers and sisters and their spouses, my nieces an nephews, my great-nieces and nephews.

This is for my friends, near and far.

No matter your religion or belief system. No matter your sexual orientation.  No matter your marital status, or if you can conceive a child or not.  No matter your skin color.  No matter what...

This is for those of you who dealing with struggles and doubt and fear.

This is for all of you.

Take a minute today or in the next little while and sit and really listen to this song.  

You are loved.

I love you. 

Heaven loves you.

You are wanted.

You are NEEDED.

I love you.