Tuesday, January 17, 2023

2022…a year I’ll never forget and why…

My oldest brother, Nathan, died on December 18, 2022–one week shy of his 48th birthday.

I have experienced death in my life: grandparents, cousins, an aunt, an uncles, a few friends— but this death has been the one that has been someone closest to me thus far. It’s been a month since he passed and I agree with what everyone says: grief comes in waves. Usually I’m fine and I don’t cry, but some times— something will spark a memory or something will remind me of him, and I will cry. If I think too much about my parents losing a child before them or Nathan’s six fatherless children, it makes me tear up.

The silver lining is that his death was becoming eminent, his liver was failing after almost 2 years of cancer and unsuccessful surgeries to get stents placed. The outcome looked very bleak, and he was faced with his impending death. The silver lining was that all of us siblings were able to speak with him in person in his hospital room, or via FaceTime calls. We all got to say goodbye and I know some families aren’t that blessed so I am grateful. Here are the words that I wrote about my experience:

Nathan’s final meal requests on Friday, December 16, 2022–and my observances: 

Country fried chicken steak

White gravy 

Mashed potatoes

Ginger ale


We weren’t able to order the squash but the rest we did— and Village Inn delivers! I had to leave for the airport before his final meal came. But Dad, Andrea, Gideon, Eva, Hyrum, and Adeline were still there to share it with him, maybe even Jakob and Mom showed up by then. He would only be able to eat a few bites since all his systems were shutting down and there was nowhere for the food to really go.

At 2:21pm, on December 16, 2022, Dad sent this message to the group chat: “A few minutes ago we signed the hospice papers. Nathan was able to talk to all of the siblings and all of his family members. It was a sacred, spiritual experience for me to observe them. I love you all and I know Nathan’s remaining time will be peaceful. Thank you all, you’re a wonderful family.”

I was able to fly in on Thur, Dec 15 around 6pm. I went from the airport straight to the Huntsman Cancer Institute and found Dad and Nathan on a FaceTime call with Andrew. Nathan had Dad put a chair right up next to the left side of his bed and motioned for me to come sit by him. During the call he told Andrew and I, individually, that he loved us and that God loved us. He talked about some ideas on getting the memories jogging for our parents’ 50th wedding anniversary memory book we are all contributing to. He said that there was still time, which I think he was referencing to many things. He asked me to massage his face and first gestured how to do it: starting in the middle of the forehead, over the eyebrows and down the side of the face, ending at the jaw. As I touched his face he looked so much like Philip to me and seeing as how everyone says Philip and I look so much alike, I guess that means that Nathan probably looked like me too. Dad and I rubbed and scratched his back several times—Dad more than me because he’s been with him for the past few days. Nathan said that there was one thing that he couldn’t get any one to commit to doing for him. I asked him what it was and he said to have someone “shave this off” referencing the scruff on his face. I would have liked to have obliged, but seeing as how I’ve never shaved anyone’s face I didn’t volunteer. Andrew and I both cried, though very quietly. I showed Nathan a shirt that I’d asked a friend to make. It was black with white lettering and imaging; it reads, “Optimistic Prime” with the Autobot/Transformer face underneath it. This is because Nathan is such an optimist, even speaking as he lay there languishing, about future endeavors and hopes. He told Andrew that his childhood nickname for him, “Data,” has proven true as Nathan is always collecting information about all sorts of things. Nathan said that he believes a lot of things from our childhood play a part in shaping our future selves. The call ended at some point with Andrew and I a little teary, but never saying aloud our grief.

I witnessed Nathan fade in and out of coherency. Some times his eyes rolled back. Some times he would speak, pause for a half a minute or so, close his eyes, and then slowly come to and finish his thoughts. Reminds me of all the times when we were little and Mom catching him playing possum (pretending to be asleep). 

I saw a few of the interactions with doctors and nurses, though I didn’t catch any of their names. Nathan continued to be his friendly, cheerful self—still a little wry humor—just a bit slower in his responses.

Dad and I went and chatted in the side room for an hour or so. That is when I found out that Nathan’s pain relief was administered every three hours as he was experiencing pain at a level nine. It was near impossible for him to really rest because of all the pressures in his body from fluids having no where

to go and the pain and the itchiness.

Dad and I discussed funeral arrangements a little bit. Probably hold a service in Pocatello but bury him in the Fairbourn cemetery in Utah. 

I left the room around a little after 10pm so that Dad could try and rest. Though he hadn’t gotten much rest for the past few days as he tried his best to help Nathan feel comfortable.

I stayed in a hotel about 15 minutes away and told Dad that I would pick up some food for him the next morning, since he was mostly just catching a few bites at the cafeteria now and then. Dad’s only request was an apple.

I went to sleep even though it was hard. I kept thinking about my brother and my dad there at the hospital. But I finally feel asleep…

In the morning I ate breakfast at the hotel and made sure to grab a couple of red apples for Dad. I went to a little grocer near my hotel to get some more food to bring to the hospital room. I was hoping that they would have a few little Christmas decorations there but all they had were fresh green wreaths. There was a Target nearby so I went there to grab a little Christmas cheer. 

When I made it back Nathan’s room Heidi, Valancy, and Karsten were there as well as Andrea, Gideon, Eva, Hyrum, and Adeline. 

I had three little lit up trees and I clipped a red poinsettia in the top of each one. I put one in the room that Mom and Dad were using and I gave Eva and Adeline each a tree and told them to put them in their dad’s room where he could see them. I also set up a large star in Nathan’s room. I clipped poinsettias on the windows’ pull chains. A little later in the day, mid-conversation-Nathan looked up and saw the little tree that had been placed on the shelf in front of him and said, “I have a Christmas tree!” I was so glad that he was able to have that little moment of Christmas cheer. My mom told me that the nurses brought the trees into other patients’ rooms after he passed away and I’m glad that the little cute trees could brighten others….

Jon had a FaceTime call with Nathan on Friday mid morning, but Nathan was not very coherent. A masseuse come and was massaging his legs and head and that was providing some relief for him. He was in great pain and had not chosen yet to get put on heavier meds as he wanted to be lucid and able to speak with his visitors.

It was getting near the time that I needed to leave for the airport. When I left Nathan’s hospital room, I hugged him goodbye. He was on a FaceTime call with Philip. Andrea was on his left and helping to rub his back make him comfortable and my dad was on his right, holding the phone for the call with Philip and holding back his tears. My mom was hurrying back from Idaho, having had to get some things taken care of there. Dad knew the time was coming near that Nathan needed to get put on hospice, so I called Jakob, the last sibling who hadn’t yet spoken with him, and convinced him that he needed to come down, as a soon as possible, to say his goodbyes.

It was very hard to leave my Dad there crying. He’d been doing so much for Nathan. I wish I could’ve stayed and offered more support.

Shortly after my flight took off the hospice papers were signed.

Saturday, December 17, my parents spent the day with him and my cousin was able to come by and a good friend of Nathan‘s, from his teenage years, and his friend’s wife. He responded very little to their visits but it was enough that my parents could tell that he knew who they were and was happy to have them there.

He slept most of Saturday.

Around midnight on Sunday morning, my father felt that he should sing hymns. My mother joined in. They said Nathan’s very slight movements of his face and hands indicated he was trying to sing with them and was very aware. At Nathan‘s funeral my dad said that it was one of the most sacred, spiritual experiences of his life.

Nathan passed away just before 1 AM on Sunday, December 18, 2022. I’m so grateful that my parents were with him. I’m so grateful that I was able to be with him and say my goodbyes. I am most grateful that Christ lives again, and because of this we will all be resurrected one day, and I will see my brother, and even more importantly, our hearts will have a perfect understanding of why he had to go.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

2020 Recap, part 1 of 3

 Never have I ever had an ENTIRE year pass by and not blogged (since the inception of this blog back in 2008!) That about describes 2020–I just don’t have the words!!!

But—here is a pathetic attempt of summarizing last year:

JANUARY— took child #5 out of the public school system in order to have him homeschool with me so I could work on some life skills with him—in particular potty training and eating better. 

FEBRUARY—threw our annual couples Valentine’s Day party with a fun sweet sixteen “Napolean Dynamite” theme. It was awesome! Alas—the only picture—

#3’s BSA Eagle court of honor (the last of it’s kind since our church no longer supports BSA). 

MARCH—church prom, award at school, a birthday, and then SHUTDOWN!!!!!! (and that is where my homeschooling goals with #5 went down the drain!)

APRIL—#1 gets emergency evacuated out of Uruguay. We were glad to have her home safe but grieved with her at having to come home early from serving as a full-time missionary (which she absolutely loved!!)

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Christmas 2019


How was your 2019 Christmas celebration?!?! I feel like the late Thanksgiving caught me off-guard in trying to get Christmas prep underway. There were three whole days of Christmas bins and boxes starting to look like permanent furniture and features. BUT—I worked really hard, ignored my family a bit, didn’t cook, didn’t clean—and got the house decorated. My family helped a little [ahem, I relinquished a little bit of control and let them help a little 😬].

There are so many things to keep busy with at Christmas. Everyone says “simplify!” Well, I didn’t. But I did manage to not procrastinate so much. My Christmas cards were sent out before Dec. 10–which is a HUGE accomplishment for me!!! I bought all online purchases before Dec. 15! I found almost all the presents I hid (still missing a gift card 🙄).  I didn’t feel as stressed. It’s Jesus’s birthday—so I like to make a big deal out of it. I tried to keep him as my focus. 

(My mother-in-law with us this year!!)

(Night in Bethlehem Ward Christmas party. It was an enchanting night!)

Random December photos—-

Friday, December 13, 2019

2019 Family newsletter answers!

Newsletter results. Sorry if you didn't get one, I probably don't have your address or it still hasn't arrived at your house. If you really, really, really, want to get on my Christmas card snail mail list then feel free to email me!

Results~(just our initials)

S, 6 1/2 years old--
1. False--she wishes! Maybe next year I can squeeze dance lessons in :-/. Poor deprived youngest child.
2. True!
3. True!

R, 8 years old--
1. True!
2. False! When this blessed event happens I will let everyone know! Probably even strangers I meet!
3. True!

G, 13 years old--
1. True!
2. False, sadly. His design was pretty awesome though!!
3. True!

A, almost 16--
1. False! Not by a long shot!
2. True!
3. True!

E, 18 years old--
1. True!
2. True!
3. False! She hated that job and is now at Bath and Body Works and now a very happy (and smelling good) employee.

K, 20 years old--
Surprise!! All of hers are true. I couldn't tell lies about a missionary!!!

K (me)--
1. True!
2. True!
3. False! I wish. (My hubby wishes even more! :-P)

J (hubby)--
1. False! Some day we hope!!
2. True!
3. True!

Thanks for keeping in touch all these years! We hope your holidays are fun and, more importantly, full of the reverence and remembrance of our Savior's birth!!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019


Some quick pics of November! 

#3’s Eagle project!!!

Made 4 potting benches for a local foundation’s upcoming silent auction fundraiser. (This foundation provides job and social opportunities for autistic adults).

#2’s homemade pies for church youth Friendsgiving 

#6’s first grade Thanksgiving presentation

#4’s mountain biking team. Season is over until spring :-(

#5 caught in a laughing-fit...

#1 with new washing machine. No more washing clothes by hand!!! She is working hard and loving her mission!

My hubby and #6 relaxing in the beautiful November weather we’ve enjoyed almost all month.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

October catch all!

October is sooo busy! Birthdays—mine and my oldest [she’s 20!?!?!] As well as five in our extended family. AND typical Halloween hubbub. And a family flu party, a quick trip for work, a scout Eagle project, two PG&E power outages, and an EEG just for funsies. 😯 (My Ragnar race was cancelled due to the fires. But this was a blessing in disguise—hubby had a kidney stone and I was home and therefore able to help him get to the doctor and take care of him).



Eagle project

(Me and hubby pretending to live the life of the rich and famous at Pebble Beach)...


Watching General Conference with one of my sick buddies...

Family Halloween costume minus our missionary and two sons who were dressing-up-Scrooges...

Our “American Gothic” costumes for grown-up Halloween party.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Retail therapy troubles

2019 has been a hard year for several retail stores. Online shopping is taking a lot of business from brick and mortar stores. And some of these stores I have been shopping at most or all of my adult life. Going to the mall and shopping was/is retail therapy!! I’m guilty of doing online shopping but it isn’t as fulfilling as walking into a store filled with colorful displays and the wonderful smell of new merchandise. I have happy memories associated with three stores in particular:

I’ve shopped at Payless since I was able to drive. Special purchases I will always remember from over the years: two pairs of blue suede shoes, black velvet t-strap chunky heels—that I always got compliments on and was wearing on my first date with my husband, getting satin heels dyed to match my bridesmaids’ dresses, knock-off Keens for my kids—which were cuter than Keens, first pairs of tennis shoes for my new-walkers, countless other adorable children’s shoes, several cute sandals and casual slip-ons, fun and sassy earrings and cute purses....

Been buying kids’ clothes for 20 years. I was always a bit sad as my kids outgrew Gymboree sizes :-(. But—I’ve been a steady shopper here for all this time and still have two kids who fit kids sizes for a good 4-6 more years. And now the cute, adorable, mix-and-matching outfits are no more. Gymboree made it so easy to find those matching sibling ensembles. I feel like I lost a part of my kids’ childhood :-(....

Honestly—this one closing is like all the candy stores in the world closing. Charming Charlie was/is one of my favorite stores!!! The color grouping layout?! GENUIS! So perfect for finding the accessories you need! I LOVE THIS STORE!!!!!! I tried not to cry when I went in during their final week. I’d say half of my jewelry is from Charming Charlie. My husband braved this wreaking-of-estrogen store, by himself, once a year at Christmastime. And my stocking was a bling fest. Charming Charlie—I will never forget you.