Friday, August 5, 2011

A Year in the Life

It’s hard to explain but when I look back on this year, it feels like it's actually been 3 years. It felt like time was in slow motion. Maybe that’s how we were able to get through each difficult moment over the last 400 days.

Our daughter Catherine was married just 1 year ago.

It’s like a dream come true that our son Phillip moved here to Portland with his wife to start his new career.

It doesn’t seem possible that all of a sudden my ‘baby boy’ will be starting high school.

Our family will grow with 2 new ‘additions' in the next week.

And I never imagined that after all she has endured, Mary would be working so soon, be engaged to be married, and starting classes back at BYU in less than a month.

Each of us are a different person than we were just one year ago. We are better and stronger because of this past year together.

A Grand Son!

Phillip and Jessica will bring a son into the world any moment now! He will be our first grandchild. He truly represents a new beginning for all of us. We are so excited to meet him and welcome him into our family!

They live and work in Lake Oswego, OR which is a short drive from us. They both work for Precoa~the nations leading funeral planning insurance company. Phillip is their lead video and media specialist helping to expand the company through commercials, videos, and other media. Jessica does technical support and internal event planning.

They are the real life version of Jim and Pam from ‘The Office!’

Love and Other Drugs

Catherine and Kris have had a whirlwind newlywed year. They both graduated from BYU in April. Catherine graduated in Exercise Science, with emphasis on ‘Wellness’. She was hired right out of school by a pharmaceutical company called Meda Pharmaceuticals. She survived 2 months of intense training and is now a pharmaceutical sales rep, or as they say in the biz, a ‘Pharma.’ She calls on 8-10 doctors each day and loves it! Her territory is in Sacramento, CA and includes Stockton, the town I grew up in!

Kris graduated in finance and has been the top salesman in his summer Dish/Direct TV sales job. He is so supportive of Catherine’s new career and loves being back in his home state!

The Freshman

Thomas completed middle school and will be our 4th and final student at Skyview High School. It has been a classic childhood dream to have all of our kids attend all 13 years of school within a mile of our home. Thomas will play freshman football and is the freshman representative for the Associated Student Body. He is following in each of his siblings footsteps and also making some new paths of his own!

Thomas just finished an authentic pioneer trek in the high desert of Washington with 150 youth. It was set in the 1800’s complete with his clothing and the food they cooked out on the range. He pushed his teams' handcart along with another boy for 23 long miles over the course of 3 days. Lifelong lessons were learned and he seemed to stand a little taller when he returned back to the comforts of home.

Last week he went to Boy Scout camp, inching closer to earning his Life and will spend next week on a 100 mile bike trip with his troop and his dad!

The Princess Bride

Mary’s real life fairy tale continues. She is engaged to Zane Curtis and will be married in the Portland, Oregon LDS temple on August 13. She has known that he was ‘the one’ from the day she woke up from her brain surgery in January. He was by her side then and he will continue to be as they begin their happy~forever~after.

Mary now works for BYU Independent Study in customer service and also heads up several special projects teams. She received a scholarship from BYU and will begin classes this fall.

We are so impressed with her sheer determination and strength.

Zane has 1 year left at BYU and then they will head off to begin his medical school. Mary is studying political science and will continue her schooling and work wherever they end up a year from now.

The Miracle Network

On June 19, 2011, we sat together as a family and reminisced about the milestone that Mary had reached on her 1 year anniversary. It was also Father’s Day and there was no place else that Mary would rather be on such a significant day in her life and in ours.

Mary suffered a massive brain hemorrhage on June 19, 2010.

Then through difficult research and weighted decision, she underwent a craniotomy to remove the AVM which had caused the hemorrhage. She received world renowned care at the hands of a highly skilled surgeon in San Francisco at UCSF.

The surgery was flawless! But it was an extremely difficult recovery that took a full 6 months. Mary will continue with some recovery over the next 6 months. But ultimately, she has come through this with beautiful results.

We sat there together on that first anniversary and shared our heartfelt gratitude. We acknowledged that there is no denying. There is no question. There is no doubt.

Mary is a miracle! She survived a hemorrhage that is usually fatal. Then she came through a risky surgery that invaded the Sylvian Fissure of her brain. The one place where most highly skilled vascular neurosurgeons will not go.

But Dr. Lawton was prepared. And he did go there. And she did recover. She got her life back~miraculously!

Leaving the Nest

So here I am~letting go~again. The summer after her freshman year at BYU, I had a pressing goal: grow closer to Mary and strengthen our love and friendship. I knew that the clock was ticking and I was determined to make that summer really matter.

Be careful what you wish for!

2 months after I set that goal, Mary’s AVM bled. In one year, we became closer than we ever were.

Mary’s example of courage and real life heroic strength, has made me dig deep and do all I can to be a better person. I witnessed her life hanging in the balance multiple times, and now I know what really matters.

Mary’s rapid recovery and the blessing of Zane in her life have given her the wings to fly. But it is bittersweet for me to let her go, again.

This trial gave me the rare chance to have a whole year with her and to be the mom that she really needed me to be.

And suddenly~time is moving much faster now. The slow motion has faded. Mary is ready and soon, she will fly away!