Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Family Pictures & 18 months

In August we had some family pictures taken, and Mikayla also happened to be 1 1/2 [or 18 months] in August. I cannot believe my little baby is now on the back half of being two! Where has the time gone?
I have really struggled with finding a photographer that I really like, meaning I like his/her style of photography, prices, and other things that you want in a photographer. We were so spoiled with such a fabulous photographer for our engagements, bridals, wedding pictures, maternity and than some of Mikayla in her first 6 months of life. She did photography as more of a hobby so she didn't charge us an arm & a leg and require a kidney to be thrown in there too :)
So after she moved I was on the hunt for a new one! We tried a few different people out [whose pictures we really liked! but they required more expensive purchases if you wanted any of your pictures] I had just been assigned a new visiting teacher [for non-member friends that is a woman who comes and visits you once a month to see how you are doing, if you need anything, etc.] she happens to be a photographer! She gave us 1/2 off a photo session so I figure I would give it a shot!! LOVE her! I think the photo's turned out so good and we will for sure be having her do Mikayla's 2 year pictures!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

God be with you till we meet again

On July 22nd my grandma went in to have open heart surgery. The surgery ended up being seven hours long and everything went as planned. She had a little bit of a hard time waking from the medication they gave her to put her to sleep, but other than that she was doing great. Later on that week she was still recovering as expected, and we were talking about where she would go for cardiac rehab. She was able to get a bed at Madonna here in Lincoln, which is exactly where she wanted to go! They are a great place to go to rehab and she was very much looking forward to seeing her friends and I was very much looking forward to not having to drive to Omaha and to go eat lunch with her over there every day! We were all counting our blessings and so grateful that she had pulled through the surgery like a champ. Almost a week later they ended up having to put a pace maker in her heart also.
Fast Forward to Sunday August 3rd. Grandma had been talking to the APRN about how excited she was to go to Madonna and all of the things that I had previously mentioned. Grandma was put on the toilet in her room and than the APRN left; she got a page about 10 minutes later saying my grandma had coded. They performed CPR and took her back up to the CICU [Cardiac Intensive Care Unit] where she coded one more time [for a total of two times] and the wonderful doctors were able to bring her back each time. After some more testing and trying to figure out what was going on she was taken down to the Cath Lab to figure out the cause of everything that was going on. It was determined that she had suffered a massive heart attack from a blood clot in her heart. She was in the Cath Lab & surgery for about 3-4 hours where they repaired some damage that was done from the heart attack to some work they had done to her heart in the initial open heart surgery.
After that surgery she was very critical and it was touch and go quite a few times. John and I were at the hospital for hours and hours, chris and Katrina was there for quite some time and my mom and step dad never left. I will save some of the gory details, but grandma was put on life support and every function in her body was on a machine so that her whole body could rest. The thought was that if her body could rest and the machines do the work for her, that she would be able to come off the machines within a reasonable time and her body would grow stronger and stronger each day.
Before she was taken back to the cath lab that Sunday my older brother Chris and step-dad Chuck was able to administer a blessing to her. John & I were unable to be there for that as we were rushing up to Omaha from Lincoln, so we didn't make it in time. But I was later told that the blessing stated the choice to go and be with those she loves in Heaven or to stay here, and although she would be in a lot of pain, was hers; it was her decision to make. While on life support I truly believe that she was in limbo between here and the spirit world, making her decision.
My grandpa passed away many years ago, along with my great-grandparents. My aunt Linda whom we lost in November, also who my grandma faithfully took care of until she passed. I cannot imagine having to make the decision to go and be pain & disease free and to be with them, or stay on this earth with the people I loved here. She struggled for about 4 days, showing tiny itsy bitsy signs of progress, but nothing medically enough. She was showing signs of an infection on Thursday morning so they were going to take her to get a procedure done to see if she had an infection and how bad it was. At that point the doctor's [the wonderful wonderful wonderful] has a discussion with my mom saying she does have an infection and it is severe and not something that she could really recover from. So the agonizing decision to let my grandma go peacefully was made.
I got a phone call from my mom at 1:00 on Thursday August 7th saying that I needed to not bring Mikayla and get up to the hospital as soon as I could. I pulled John out of class, dropped Kayla off at my mother in laws and we dashed up to Omaha as fast as possible. My mom, stepdad, brother, sister in law, and sister were all there already. We were able to say our goodbyes and my grandma was surrounded by a room full of people who loved her so very much. Being in the room as my grandmother left her mortal body was a very personal, emotional, spiritual thing so I wont go into too much detail as it is very near to my heart.
My grandma's funeral was today. I was prepared to be a complete wreck and a big hot mess. But there was such a spirit there and it was so peaceful and calm, and although I did cry, I felt at peace. I felt at peace because I KNOW without a doubt what happens after we die. I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have learned throughout the years and the testimony that I have gained. Without the testimony of the plan of salvation I would not be able to handle this the way that I am. I am so grateful for knowing that my grandmother is exactly where she chose to be, and having that knowledge, which the only way we knew it was her choice was by her being given a blessing by the priesthood power, makes this so much easier.
I am so grateful for eternal families. I am SO grateful that I know I will see my grandmother again, whole and well. My heart aches for people who do not believe in anything after this life, that their loved ones are not anywhere. I am so grateful for the opportunity to go with my husband and my daughter to the temple next year and be sealed for eternity, so that we can be together and never part; even after this mortal life ends. How amazing this concept of eternal families and being together is, and temples. How grateful I am that we are able to go to the temple and be sealed to our families so that when we cross over to the other side we can be together.
My grandma was a special lady. She did so many things and helped so many people. There were SO many people at her funeral today and it was so wonderful to see how many people's lives she touched and how everyone came to show their support, love, and to say good-bye one last time. She is someone who will never be forgotten by many people, and I am looking forward to teaching my daughter about her great-grandma and how wonderful she was. So many people have been wonderful and offered so much comfort at this time of mixed emotions. Emotions of joy for her to be reunited with her loved ones on the other side of the Veil, sadness that she is no longer physically here with us, gratefulness at the time that we were able to have her and anticipation for when we get to the chance to be with and see her again.


This is the last family picture that we had the chance to take, it was at my sisters youngest kiddo's baby blessing in North Platte, Nebraska. I will be forever grateful for this picture.
There is a quote that has brought me much comfort in the time that I would like to put on here.
"Moreover, we cannot fully appreciate joyful reunions later without tearful separations now. The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life" ---Elder Russell M. Nelson