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I go back there.

Every year on this day, I go back in my mind to my house in Phoenix. I see myself in my bed, the sun coming down from the window above. It was early. Too early for me to be waking up on my own. But the house was quiet. I was 13. I was in a large bed and looking at me from the other side was my youngest brother. He was 8. He was awake, too. I sat up and looked across the hall to my parent’s room. I could only see foot of their bed from my room, but there, kneeling at it, was my mom and my oldest sister. They were praying. And then I knew.

He was gone.

Amazing to me was the feeling that came next. My dad. The man I loved the most in the world had just died. I didn’t cry. I exhaled. For weeks it felt like I was just holding my breath.  Just waiting to finally breathe. Everyone and everything seemed to, too. That feeling of relief, of letting all the air up that you’d been holding in for way too long permeated through the house. It was like even our home, down to the studs, deflated a little bit.

My dad had spoke a lot about that exact time. When he would die. You see, we had 8 weeks to prepare. But even before that, we all kind of knew that our time with him was short. That we had been granted four extra years from the time his cancer had shown up, and that was soon to run out. My dad was a man of great faith. He spoke of his excitement to meet his Savior.

That thought came into my head almost as soon as I realized he was gone. My dad is meeting his Savior. I thought about the reunion in Heaven. The people who went before who were excited to see him. And for a time, I wasn’t sad. I was happy, really.

The weeks before he passed were some of the hardest I’ve ever been through. I saw things that are too hard to even to write.  I saw his pain. There was a lot of it. He tried to not let us see, but we knew. We’d kneel at the foot of his very bed and pray that God would take him so he didn’t have to suffer so much. How’s that for a 13 year old girl? Praying that her dad would die? I look at my Beehives (they’re still mine…) and think they are SO YOUNG! How did I do that? How did any of us make it through that?

It was hard, but I think it’s even harder to look back on. In looking back, you can’t feel the immense comfort of the Holy Ghost. It’s been explained like having a blanket wrapped around you. It was like that. For the two months before his passing, and for a while after, I felt that. It was warm. It was fuzzy. I could feel the prayers that were being said on our behalf. And then slowly, the blanket is pulled away gently. Not that the Holy Ghost isn’t always there for you, but that you have to live with the reality, too. The prayers fade away in time, and that can be felt, too. Little by little, time takes from us the other things that death could not. His smell. The way the house felt when he was home. And after a while, it seemed as though his extended vacation was a little more permanent, a little more sad.

I marvel at how fast the time has gone by. How quickly the days that seemed so long- between his passing, his viewing and his funeral- and then quickly the years- have gone by. When I had met Lance, it had only been 5 years since he had passed. It didn’t seem like quite the lifetime it does now. I miss him. I miss him so much. I wonder what he’d say to me. I picture him holding my kids. He’d be proud of the kind of boy Carter is all on his own. He’d love Casey because he’s different. He’d laugh at Peyton and tell me I’m getting what I deserve- the sweetest comic relief that I need more than I can even say. But what I really wish the most is to be able to see him with my sweet daughter.  Oh how he would love her! Before my dad died he told me that he told me  how proud of me he was, that he would miss me so much and that he’d “check in on {me} from time to time.”  I picture him saying the same things to Abby before he escorted her little spirit to Earth.

I know I’ve said it before. But maybe Abby needs to be with us in part so that Heaven can be allowed to be closer, too.  I truly believe that it is. From the sweet experience I had the night before she was born, to experiences that are to sacred to me to share, I know my dad gets to check in on me.

So when I get sad I think about the day he passed.  I go back there. That morning it felt like Heaven came to our house to get him, and then hung around for a while. It was warm and it was sweet. It was peaceful and even happy.

It’s the same feeling that Abby carries with her. And when I hold her, I go back there.

7 thoughts on “I go back there.

  1. No one can make me cry like you can, Lexi. When I think of those last weeks and the moments I had with your dad, you are inseparably there more than anyone. You are the beautiful little "deer in the headlights" sitting next to your dad on the bed, always, ready to get him strawberries, a drink, or anything. Just being with him. Thanks for this post. Can't wait to be with all of you (and him?) this week!

  2. Too sad. I am never ok on the 10th. I just want him back. I will be the age he was when he found his cancer in 3 years! Three. I am far too young to be looking death in the face and to be thinking I may have to leave my little family. How strong he was! He made it so much easier for all of us. He was an amazing man.

  3. That was a nice post Lex. Whenever I think of death I freak out still, even knowing our Heavenly Father's plan.. I think I fear my feelings of losing people more than their happiness beyond. Thanks for posting this.

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