Sunday, July 6, 2008

always thinking of you...

One of the hardest things about making the move to Arizona, was the thought of being so far away from the resting place of our firstborn. We know that he's not really there, but it feels good to be able to have a place to go and visit, and reminisce, and celebrate, and dream, and hope, and also to just empty our tears...
To lessen the pain of being so far away, we decided that every year on Isaac's birthday, we'd come back to that special place, and have a little memorial/birthday party in his honor. Sadly, for a number of reasons, we weren't able to make it up this year. Our hearts were broken because we wouldn't be there to commemorate his 3rd birthday. However, we did the best we could, being 700 miles away, to honor and remember him that day. John made a birthday cake, and the three of us sang Happy Birthday to him. Then, after putting Ruby down for the night, we pulled his special box down from one of the shelves in the garage and rummaged through all the painful memories and broken dreams. The little outfits that we had excitedly purchased when we found out we were having a boy. The baseball decorations that would adorn his nursery. The pajamas with matching cap and blanket from grandma Judy. The teeny tiny shoes that grammy and grandpa Pitts had given us as a congratulatory gesture. The giraffe blanket that we paid way too much money for...
And then the scraps from the satin white blanket that we buried him in, and photos of us holding him in our arms, and the guestbook from his funeral, and copies of his obituary, and the tonka truck and baseball that were left on his headstone for his (would be) first birthday...and all the other painful reminders...reminders that he's not here. In that box we also found a cassette tape of his graveside service. It had been 3 years since we had listened to it so we went out and played it in the car (the only tape deck that we have), and cried, and cried, and cried as we remembered all too clearly the day we placed his body into the cold hard ground. I remember during that time feeling like I would never be able to smile again. I literally felt like my world had come crashing down, and that it would never be the same again. Well, although I have gone on to enjoy life, and to smile, and laugh; I was right about one world isn't the same as it was before. That very event changed the course of my life forever...but it changed for the better. I know that I am the person I am today because of the trials that I have experienced. They have made me better, and stronger, and more able to empathize with others who are hurting from a loss in their lives. Plus, the thought of being able to raise our Isaac someday, makes me want to try harder, love deeper, live fuller, and be better in every way.

Because we weren't able to make it up to the grave this year, our families made a point to go in our stead. My dad and step mom went up on his birthday, along with three of my sisters, my brother-in-law, and nephew. John's mom, two brothers, sister-in-law, and two nephews, went up the following day to pay their respects. I can't even express how grateful I am to have such loving and supportive families. My dad was literally a rock and pillar to us all during the days and weeks before and after our loss. John's brother, Paul, did so much, too. My mother-in-law put over two thousand miles on her car during the two weeks that I was hospitalized, driving to and from Provo and Salt Lake. Our siblings came and visited, brought gifts, offered prayers, provided words of encouragement and hope, smiled for us, cried with us. I couldn't have made it though those couple of weeks without the love and support of our families. And still, three years later, I am so grateful for everything they did, and continue to do for us.
My dad and sister, Kim, have been learning to play the bagpipes for the past two years now, so last week when they visited the grave, they played together in Isaac's honor. They filmed the whole thing for us, and sent a copy of the DVD. I was in tears as I watched their beautiful offering to us and to our son. I hope that as you watch it, you will be touched as well. I added some pictures from some of our previous graveside celebrations and put them to a beautiful song written by John's cousin, Lauri. The song is entitled Thinking of You from her album, A Mother's Heart, and was dedicated to the memory of our little Isaac Joshua.

I also want to thank so many of our dear friends for sharing in our pain and sorrow, and for being there to ease our burdens. Bryce and Diana made us a CD of the graveside service so we never again will have to go out to our car to listen to it. Thanks you guys. We love you.

Also, we have a wonderful friend from the ward we were in at the time, who wrote this poem for us just after our loss. I read it often as it brings me so much comfort and peace.

Within a hushed and tranquil bower
through hue and scent of peaceful flower,
and under watchful Father's care
walks your Angel bright and fair.
And sometimes, dances in the sunlight,
joyful face turned upward in delight.
But, often, on bended knees,
as loving Father hears and sees,
prays you'll feel peace, your fears depart
within the garden of your heart.

-L. George

I had never thought about this before...that for as many times as we have prayed for our sweet Isaac, he is most likely praying for us too.

God bless, our sweet little Isaac...oh how we love and miss you.


Rachel said...

That is so precious. How amazing that your family would fill in for you this year. I know he is watching down on you and can't wait to be together as a family again.

Jon and Ashlyn Ellsworth said...

What a beautiful testimony that families can be together forever. Thank you so much for sharing that with us. It was a good end to such a wonderful fast Sunday. Nicole you are trully amazing and I wish I was able to get to know you better while we were in the ward. Just know that your Heavenly Father loves you and your wonderful family. He wants what is best for you! What a blessing you guys are to those around you.

ahe said...

I can't tell you how much this post inspires me and breaks my heart all at the same time. I honestly can't imagine the pain and the joy you must feel. The pictures of Ruby at Isaac's grave on his first birthday are so precious and amazing. I have been looking through a bunch of my pictures of George so that I can put together his three year slide show and there is a picture of you and John with him in the hospital...I don't know how you did that...How you were able to share in my joy at a time of such great loss in your own life. I am baffled.

I too miss Isaac. When you were pregnant with him and in the hospital, Paul and I prayed for you and him every day and felt so strongly that Isaac and George were buddies. We thought this meant that he would make it and were shocked and deeply sorrowed when we realized that their bond wasn't meant to be earthly. I know I have said this before but as I write this and the tears flow I must say that I am so thankful that you and John let us be a part of Isaac's short life here on earth. The power of his spirit and the example of your faith have strengthened my testimony in the gospel and my desire to live worthy of the blessings that are available to all of us.

Love you!

Smokin' Piper... said...

He's a bonnie lad; nae, a man. A righteous man...a man so good he didna hafta stay here. And, someday his grandpa and Aunt Kimmy are goin' tae be able tae play Amazing Grace for him with more grace - a wee bit more fittin' for the soul that he is. :)

Layn & Celeste said...

Nicole and John: I am so behind on your blog after being out of town for a week! That video made tears pour down my face. What wonderful families you have to be there with you and for you during those hard times. I have no doubt you guys will be able to see your precious little Isaac again and be joyfully reunited as an eternal family.

Thanks for sharing all you do. You both are amazing and everyone who surrounds you guys are in awe of your testimonies, your strength, and your love. I love you guys.

diana rose said...

i have so much to say...

what a wonderful family you have, it's no wonder you are such a great person... you were raised surrounded by such loving and supportive people.

i loved seeing baby ruby in the video, next to her brother's headstone. such a small little baby, recently sent from heaven puts things in perspective.

that poem, was beautiful. i'm sure it brought (and brings) comfort to you as you read it. it's such a beautiful thought to think that isaac prays for his dear mom and dad.

and, lastly, i'm happy we were able to do something, even something small, for you both. we love you guys, too. really.

Sarah said...

How beautiful! Thank you for sharing the pictures, songs, & testimony.

Amber and Dallas said...

I'm in tears. What a wonderful tribute to your sweet little Issac. How grateful we are for eternal families. He is so lucky to be surrounded by so many people who love him. I'm certain he misses you all and prays for you continually. In memory of your little guy- we love you Isaac! We can't wait to meet you someday!

Ethel Carola Aredes Tapia said...

Amiga que hermoso es tener un testimonio de que las familia pueden ser eternas y que el pequeño Isaac es un espiritud tan especial que progreso tanto en la pre existencia que solo necesitaba un cuerpo para lograr la exaltación ahora es el tiempo en que su padres y hermanos puedan esforzarse para lograr el lugar que el gano
amiga recuerda en la mision la frace que teneniamos por siempre para siempre y tu pequeño Isaac es tuyo y de John por siempre y para siempre nacio del hermoso convenio de padre que estan sellados
amiga yo se sin ninguna dudas que tu hijo ora cada dia al padre por sus padres y hermanos para que un dia puedan estar junto nuevamente .
te amo mucho amiga y comprendo tu dolor lo se porque mi madre provo la misma esperiencia con mis hermanos que se adelantaron a nosotros
por ultimo tu hijo esta en muy buenas manos tu madre que de seguro estan juntos velando por su familia
te quiere tu amiga Ethel Carola Aredes Tapia

Jess and Matt said...

Wow, that was an amazing and inspiring testimony; I am brought to tears. I can in no way know exactly how you must feel and what you have been through, but I know of deep loss and you are such a strength to me. I wish for peace in your heart at this difficult time of year. I am so happy that your family was able to go to Isaac's resting place and commemorate him. I hope that you can go back often. I know that no matter where you are, he is ALWAYS with you, in your hearts, and looking down on his family waiting for your return to him. We are thinking of you. Thank you for your strength and testimony, you have left such a positive impact on me.

Laurel said...

Tears streaming down my face.

So sweet and I am so happy for your family to have another sweet boy so soon now. He is so lucky to have you.

Julia Kelly said...

I'm a bit behind on your blog, but had to leave a comment and thank you for sharing your strength and testimony. What a blessing the gospel is in our lives.