I give my mom and dad one last hug before Kaya and I bundle up to drive home. The front door swings open and a gush of cold air bites at our noses and ears. “I love you Mom and Dad, thanks for everything,” I say. I then take Kaya’s warm little hand and we walk out to the car together. Kaya climbs into the back seat and buckles her seat belt. I close the door behind her and as I look back at her smiling face through the car window my heart surges with joy. “Oh, how I love my little girl,” I think, and soon my eyes fill with tears…my love for her is indescribable. I’m sure every parent has moments such as this, when the love for their children manifests itself as happy tears. At that moment, I felt such gratitude for my eternal family… my love for them will never fade, but will only grow stronger.
As we drove home last night in the quiet car, my thoughts turned to Ryan and Evee and I reflected back on the many wonderful memories I have of them. I thought of Evee playing dinosaurs in her room and singing to herself. I thought of Ryan’s infectious laugh. I thought of Evee’s cute stories and Ryan’s warm hugs. I thought of our many family vacations together. I thought of Ryan’s tender words as he gave our children father’s blessings before school this year. I thought of Evee and when she blessed our lives by coming into the world. I pictured holding her in my arms with Ryan by my side and Kaya on my lap. I thought of Ryan’s encouragement and positive attitude and Evee’s little hands holding mine. I thought of Ryan’s strong hands and how he loved it when I played with his hair as we drove in the car together.
When I woke up this morning, my thoughts continued to be focused on my two angles. With them on the fore front of my thoughts, I decided to run towards the light. On my morning run, I ran in the direction of the sun…with my eyes closed I ran forward… the light from the sun shining down upon me…my heart and mind filled with light…I knew that my family was eternal…Ryan, Evee, Kaya…were mine to keep. I continued forward with my family as my focus, they willed me onward. I closed my eyes once more and let the sun’s light fill my distressed heart with light and love. As I ran I was listening to a song called, “Savior, Redeemer of my Soul.” The words of that song touched my heart and I felt like I was running toward the Savior’s light…the Son’s light. Ryan and Evee lifted me as I ran forward…I felt as if I were flying. The Spirit spoke to my soul through the words of that song and I knew that Heavenly Father was mindful of me. I knew that my Savior could help me today…with his arm outstretched willing to pull me up…it has been three months…today… since Ryan and Evee’s deaths.
I’m thankful for the memories God gave me. This Thanksgiving is going to be hard. It will be different and strange, but I’m grateful for the many opportunities I have to celebrate Ryan and Evee’s lives. This Thanksgiving I’m going to celebrate turkey bowls, afternoon naps, banana cream pie and bingo…those are the things they loved. My heart will be filled with gratitude for the memories I have of their smiles, hugs, and kisses. This Thanksgiving week… I thank my Heavenly Father for blessing me with two amazing individuals who have filled my heart with gratitude.