Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Marker

Things have been getting a little tense for us as we've waited all summer for Holden's grave marker to arrive. We leave Saturday for Hawaii to finish school and we were going to be pretty distraught if we had to leave without being around to see it put in.  With only a couple of days to spare, the marker has arrived and we were able to be there as they put it in. We're way pleased with the way it turned out. Cait and I already bought the plot next to him and we've requested the same granite/bronze/border theme for ours (so everyone knows, in case the good Lord were to take us together). 

We got to keep the vinyl paper from the temporary one as a keepsake. We loved that people were able to read about him and see his picture and so we're kind of sad to take it away. We're wanting to make a similar stand for it that we can put in one of the flower pots.

We love it, and we think he does too. As I sat staring at it from the shade of the maple tree I felt like he was there with us to see it. 

If you're ever in the Bountiful area we'd be happy if you paid him a visit while we are away. Let us know and we'll help you find him.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Special Category

One of the most relevant things I've read over the summer was from Dallin H. Oaks' quasi-autobiography, Life's Lessons Learned. In the chapter on adversity he writes in response to 2 Nephi 2:1-2:

     Adversity is an occasional or even a constant companion for each of us throughout our lives. We cannot avoid it. It is a reality--and indeed one of the purposes--of mortal life. What is important is how we react to it. Will our adversities bear us down, or will we go forward relying on the promise of God, who does not shield us from every adversity but who gives us the guidance and strength that makes it possible for us to endure and progress?

     Some people exploit their adversities to encourage others to look on them with pity and to place them in a special category that excuses nonperformance. Others, as father Lehi taught, accept their adversities and go forward, relying on God's blessing to help them do their best.

I've been trying for the past hour to write about a particular experience with Holden, but have been unable to. For some reason I can't shake the feeling that some might perceive it as an attempt for pity, and I can't stand the idea that someone might think I would exploit my son's suffering that way. Simultaneously, I can't ignore the increasingly nagging feeling that I need to not only record these events, but help others who may be struggling, much like Caitlin and I have been helped by mutual acquaintances of adversity.

So I guess I'm making this post as a disclaimer to put my mind at ease: I may write about personal and sacred experiences that at times will be kind of downers, because there are difficult things I want to write about. I will not do this to garner pity or attention. I will not allow myself to post anything that in any way does not feel genuine to me or fails to accurately reflect how I'm feeling. My aim and hope is that this can be an effective way for me to record important events and recurring sentiments. I, like many of my gender, tend to compartmentalize my emotions, and think this will be a therapeutic outlet for me.

So bear with me. I'm gonna talk about my son a lot. He's on my mind a lot. I love him and miss him. I don't show it most of the day, but it hurts to not have him here.

Monday, August 20, 2012


A couple of days ago I was flipping through some of the pictures of Holden. When I say "flip through" I usually mean study every pixel of them for about 5 minutes each. I spent a good amount of time on this one in particular:

As I studied his face I thought back to this moment and could distinctly remember what this felt like. His warmth, his weight on my chest, all the details of this moment remain clear to me. I never anticipated what it would be like to be a father. When Holden was born the recurring thought of those days was, "I get it." I get why people are obsessed with their kids. Why they would do anything for them to be happy. I thought I understood before, it made sense to me and all, but I didn't have a clue until it happened to me.

As I was mentally transporting myself back to that perfect moment in my life I had a moment of clarity--that's kind of a cheap way to put it--I KNEW in that instant that those exact feelings at that moment will be mine to have again. His warmth. I would feel his warmth again.

That's the bittersweet thing that I believe only those who have had the kinds of trauma that Caitlin and I have had can experience. I thought I had felt the Spirit before. I've had an incrementally growing testimony of the gospel since I was an independent thinker, but now things are much different. Since Holden died there have been occasions that the truth just slaps me across the face with obviousness. The fact that Holden will resurrect. That his spirit will enter again into that little body. That his little hand will wrap around my finger. That I'll be able to hold him and play with him and hear him cry and demand to be held and all those other things that parents get to experience now and take for granted. All those things in that instant became something not to just hope for or believe in, but they were OBVIOUS.

I read this last night in Joseph Fielding Smith's Doctrines of Salvation:
"The resurrection is not a hard thing to believe. There are many things harder than that to believe. Life itself is a mystery. What do we know about it? Where does it come from?  Is there anything more wonderful than the creation of the body? Why, bless your soul, that is more wonderful than to call together the elements that compose the body after death and cause life to come into them again.
"In my judgment that is nothing to be compared as a miracle with the creation of that body in the beginning, putting life into it. Yet we see that every day; that is common. We see it, so we acknowledge it to be a fact. It is no more a miracle, it is no more wonderful, to have some body raised from the dead. They have come back; they have made their appearances; they have given commandments to men."

Seeing Holden again is not wishful thinking, a crossing of fingers, or a matter of imagination. It's patience.

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