As I was driving home today “Life is a Highway,” (the Rascal Flatts version) came on my playlist. Every time I hear this song my mind immediately thinks of Ryan. This song is on our wedding video and it reminds me of the movie, “Cars.” And Cars is significant because Ryan purposed to me right after watching it one night while we were up in the mountains. We had cuddled up together in the back of his truck and watched it under the stars.
I’m grateful for the ‘triggers’ in life…the things that remind me of the deep love I have for my family. I’m sure you have all experienced different ‘triggers’ of your own. They can be brought on by sights, smells, songs, or places. It seems as if everywhere I go there are bitter sweet memories and ‘triggers.’ As I listened to Life is a Highway today, tears filled my eyes as I thought about Ryan and how much I love him. I think I’m more in love with him now than the moment I met him…and even more than the day I first told him I loved him….and maybe even more than the day we were sealed for time and all eternity. I thought I knew what love was then…but as I’ve experienced life…love has become so much more. I love the tiny little details that make Ryan special. I love his bright green eyes. I love his sense of adventure. I love his sincerity and his determination. I love his contagious laugh and the way Ryan looked at me. I love his stubborn ways and I even love when he called me, ‘Woman.’ I love Ryan so deeply that I would do anything for him…and I’m sure he would anything for me too.
Anytime I eat something extra yummy I remember Evee and her sweet voice saying, “Mama this is de-litch-ous!” I think of Evee each time I hear the song, “I know My Savior Loves Me.” I’m grateful for my Evee ‘triggers.’ Today I heard the song, “My girl,” and I thought of Evee. She is definitely my sunshine on a cloudy day. I think I love Evee more now than the day she was born…and trust me my heart was bursting with love for our tiny little girl. I thought I knew what love was then…but as I’ve experienced life…love has become so much more. I love the tiny little details that make Evee special. I love Evee’s excitement for life. She made even the most casual events fun and exhilarating. I love Evee’s good night cuddles and big bear hugs. I love the way she would nuzzle her cheek against mine and I love the soft touch of her flawless skin. I love Evee’s compassion and willingness to try new things. I love her admiration for animals and the messes she would make…because that meant she was discovering and learning. I love Evee so deeply that I would do anything for her…and I’m sure she would for anything for me too.
I think of Kaya anytime I see something tiny. Kaya loves to collect things in boxes of every shape and size…because of course…boxes are the perfect places to keep all of her tiny treasures. Fall acorns remind me of Kaya…she loves them because they’re “so cute and small!” Anytime I’m eating a Kit-Kat I think of Kaya and her love for chocolate. When Kaya first looked at me with her baby brown eyes I thought I knew what love was…but as I’ve experienced life…love has become so much more. I love the tiny little details that make Kaya special. I love her big smile after she’s accomplished something difficult. I love her thoughtful stupor. I love her long brown hair and her love for puppies. I love her dependence on me and her admiration for family. I love her grace and delicate shape….after all she’s pretty tiny herself. I love Kaya so deeply that I would do anything for her…and I’m sure she would do anything for me too.
Today I had a spiritual ‘moment.’ I felt warmth and peace…I felt love…as I sat and thought of my family. Isn’t it remarkable that we all have the capability to love so deeply? Each time I cry at the loss of my husband and daughter…I’m reminded of just how much I love them and how much they mean to me. And even though we are separated… for now…I am determined to do what it takes to be worthy of their eternal companionship.
Elder Shayne M. Bowen said this in an a LDS General Conference address,
“I have learned that the bitter, almost unbearable pain (from loss, or sin) can become sweet as you turn to your Father in Heaven and plead for His comfort that comes through His plan; His son, Jesus Christ; and His Comforter, who is the Holy Ghost.
What a glorious blessing this is in our lives. Wouldn’t it be tragic if we didn’t feel great sorrow when we lose a child (or loved one)? How grateful I am to my Father in Heaven that He allows us to love deeply and love eternally.”
Love… truly is a wonderful gift. I echo Elder Bowen’s testimony…I am so grateful that we have been blessed with the ability to love deeply and eternally. Love does not end with the loss of our loved ones or when we make mistakes. Love is everlasting. Sometimes I think we take our loved ones for granted and we think we can treat them with less kindness than maybe someone we just met (I know I am guilty of this). But after losing Ryan and Evee all too soon and suddenly…I know that love is essential…loving our spouses, children, parents, sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles…is one of the most important commandments under Heaven…and it is also one of Heaven’s greatest gifts to us.
“…Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” –Matthew 22:37-39
Take time to cherish the tiny little details of those you hold near and dear to your heart. Love them unconditionally… value them more than rubies…and I know your heart will be filled with true happiness.
I thought I’d share just a glimpse of the people who make life worth living. My loves.