Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Best Two (or Five) Years

I don't write (or talk) about my sister Lisa much but I probably should. She is such an inspiration to me and our whole family. I love and miss her so much.

It was a normal day in November of 2005. Lisa got all dressed up to go on a date with her dear, sweet husband. The are big fans of Al Jarreau and they were going to go to dinner and see his concert. She kissed her kids goodbye for the last time in this life. I don't need to go into the details. It happened suddenly and without warning. She was there and then she was gone.

For most people, this would have been the beginning of a great tragedy. She left behind the love of her life and four little (at the time) kids, the youngest was three. Thankfully, we know that our Heavenly Father has a plan and we know that life on this earth is only a small part of that great plan. Instead, the family was bathed in love and service from friends, family and neighbors, and they thrived. That's how life should be. We should all help each other get through the tough times.

Because they handled things so well, they were great examples of faith to others in their neighborhood. There was one family in particular. Bentley, my sister's oldest son, has a best friend names Tyler. Tyler started going to church with Bentley. He felt the love of his Savior there. Tyler accepted the gospel and was baptized. He lead the way for the rest of his family; his mom, dad and little sister. They were also baptized. Tyler wanted to share that gospel with others so he decided to serve a two year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He is exactly one year older than Bentley. He has been gone one year. Now Bentley is 19, the age in which most young men start their two years of service. He also wanted to share the Savior's love with others and decided to serve a mission. In mid-April he got his call to serve the people of Tuscon, AZ. It's not as far from home as some missionaries go but it is where he should be.

A couple of weekends ago, I was able to drive down, accompanied by the three boys, to St George and Las Vegas to visit family and attend the temple with Bentley and other family members in preparation for his missionary service. Because of the strength and example of my sister's family, Tyler's parents were also able to go to the temple. What a blessing for everyone there! We also got to hear Bentley give his farewell talk in church. It was a wonderful weekend. It was full of good times, spiritual experiences and lots of hugs.

Thanks to my brother, R.P., and his lovely wife, Mariah, we had a place to crash. This is my three big boys and their two little boys. We always have a great time when we visit them in St George.

We were supposed to leave for home right after church and lunch but the cousins wanted to spend a few more hours together. We were invited to go swim at this beautiful pool that belongs to one of Bentley's friends. It was great fun in a beautiful setting!

Here's the cousins together (for a split second!) From the left is Josh (mine), Kyle (mine), Chloe on Kyle's lap (Lisa's), Ava (Lisa's), Austin (mine) and Bailey (Lisa's). Bentley was MIA.

It was in the 90's yet they all ended up in the hot tub! (I cant figure out how to get that picture to turn the right way, sorry)

On our way out of Vegas, we took my sister some pretty spring flowers for Memorial Day.

A couple of days ago, Bentley was headed to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, UT. He flew into Salt Lake City so we went to the airport for one last hug. I am so glad we did! He looked great. He was ready and excited to get to work.

Here he is coming out of the "restricted area". We went with him to the baggage claim area and waited with him until his shuttle left.

Just enough time to sneak in a group picture.

Losing my sister was a hard thing. But these past five and a half years seem to have gone by pretty fast. There are still times when I would love to call her. That's when I just think of what I want her to know and hope she is listening, and knowing her, she is. I know she is also watching over her family. There are some things that they have missed by not having a mom in their home the last five years. But that is such a short time compared to the eternity they will be able to spend together in the next life. I am grateful for the lessons that we have learned in the last five years. The good things that have happened might have happened if she was still with us but they might not have happened and that would be sad. Tyler is on his mission teaching people the true gospel of Jesus Christ and now Bentley is following in his footsteps. Tyler's family has been able to go to the temple and be sealed together for all eternity, just as Lisa's family is. There have been some great blessings that have come out of this trial. There always are. We just need to have the faith to look for them.

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