Friday, November 11, 2011


My birthday is on Veteran’s Day. It was the greatest day to have a birthday. Brad was always off work and I got to spend the whole day with him. I would wake to breakfast in bed - usually Brad’s famous French toast. (my favorite) He would have something amazing planned every year, little gifts from the kids, big A flowers, and he would clean the whole house spotless. (yes, I know, I was extremely spoiled) 

And all of this on a day that we should have been celebrating him as well. I remember a year in Florida when he was asking if it would be O.K. if he did a fly by at the parade - because, you know, it WAS my birthday and he wanted it to be all about me. Haha. It still makes me laugh when i think about it. - because it is just so like him to me more worried about others.  That was one of my funnest birthday memories - to get to cheer him on as his F15 four-ship flew by in perfect formation.  
He made my birthday’s unforgettable.  
And, for the past few years, unbearable without him. Last year I was thinking I had made peace with this day that my birthday falls on now. It’s kind of like “our” day, we can share it - but these past few days leading up to it I’ve been a mess. Overwhelmed and sad and pissed - and feeling bad for myself. Ugh! In a funk that I would try to shake off and just couldn’t.  
The first year was by far the hardest. I remember not even wanting to get out of my bed. My sweet sister gave me a beautiful necklace that first year. She had taken a card Brad had written in and his finger prints and , i don’t know how they did it, -  but I have this beautiful silver pendant that has Brad’s actual handwriting and print on it.
I love it. It makes me so happy to read it. I can look at that and see:
“I love you Beautiful, Eternally yours, Brad.”  
Reading that in his own handwriting helps me get perspective. 
eternity is a long time. and this life is but a moment. 
This separation will be but a moment.  

When I have it; I’m good. I feel like I can do this. I’m a better mother, a better everything. I don’t feel like I’m sinking, and I don’t feel alone.
Lately, I’ve felt like I’ve been losing it a little. 
And, I know it’s because I haven’t been on a “date” with my husband for a while.  Since I moved back I’ve had a standing Wednesday date with Brad at the temple. (thanks to my amazing Sister in law Lisa who would take the kids for the day) 
I don’t think I realized how much this was helping me hold it together until the Ogden Temple closed - and Sophie started school - for a few hours in the middle of the day (kindergarten ruins your life)  :) so I couldn’t have my “day off” anymore.  
So, I had a much needed date with my husband today.   

And it was a good day.   
Nothing changed. Just tweaked the way I looked at it a bit.
Perspective renewed. 
I went in feeling a little sorry for myself and came out feeling like the luckiest girl in the world. I would not trade places with any of you schmoes :)   
Do you know how many people dream of finding their soulmate and having a family with him and loving every minute of every day they got to spend with him?  
I had that.  I HAVE that.  I’m good. 
Happy Veteran’s Day to my best friend. Thank you for the amazing birthday.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was driving to school (I taught 2nd grade) and I heard something on the radio about a plane hitting the World Trade Center. I had only been able to listen for a minute or two before I got to school.  I ran in and when I walked in the office the t.v was on in our principle's office. People were gathered around and saying how they just couldn't believe it....

and then the second plane hit.  It was only then that it was obvious it wasn't an accident.

I remember feeling scared and small. and wondering how I was going to help my little second graders be ok that day; when I was not ok.  That day was a blur. I could not hold back the tears when the towers fell. and I remember thinking I had to pull it together so these sweet little kids would not be more scared. I felt afraid in my own community for the first time.

So during that day what was the most important to you?
What became more important than anything else?
What worries fell away and no longer mattered?  

I know for me, nothing else mattered but my family and my faith. I just wanted to get home and hold my own sweet little second grader Tyler. I wanted to be with my family and make sure we were all o.k.  Every other worry fell away. They were no longer going to occupy my time. Time seemed much more precious.  It seemed silly that they were such a big deal in the first place.

One of the things that made me feel better was knowledge. So I watched the news and discovered talk radio. I wanted to know what was going on.  The amazing stories of heroism and survival; heartbreak and loss - I wanted to know it all. I remember thinking that it was very important for all of us to know about these men and women who lost their lives. That was the way we honor and remember them.

I didn't meet Brad until Oct 2002,   He came and spoke on Veteran's Day to my class that year.  He shared how he had always wanted to fly, and how he wanted to protect this great country that we all have the privilege of living in. Many of the student's asked him about the terrorist attacks the previous year. I remember being so impressed with how he talked to them. He had returned from Saudi Arabia a few months before - He patrolled the no fly zone over Iraq. (Operation Southern Watch)   He talked in terms they could understand (good guys, bad guys) He told them that was his job, to protect them from the bad guys. And that there were many, many men and women all around the country and the world "protecting them from the bad guys" And that the bad guys will never win.

I love this country that we live in.  I am so proud that I am the wife of a heroic man who spent his life defending it - and protecting us.   I Love when people recognize and remember his sacrifice.

So today, we remembered all those lost ten years ago.  we watched the reading of the names and I talked about it with my little girls.   Seeing those images of the towers smoking and people covered with ash brought back all those feelings from that day.  But remembering is good. I remember feeling afraid, and so sad for the families of those lost, (I never dreamed I would have something in common with them)   but I also remembered the amazing stories of heroism and hope.  The love of country and increased faith.

Today, at the dedication of the Flight 93 National Memorial, George W. Bush said,

"With the distance of a decade, 9/11 can feel like a part of a different era, but for the families of the men and women stolen...that day will never feel like history, America shares your grief, we pray for your comfort, and we honor your loved ones."

"One of the lessons of 9/11 is that evil is real, and so is courage,"

Bush said the 40 passengers and crew members left a legacy of bravery and selflessness which inspires America. "For generations, people will study the story of Flight 93," he said. "They will learn that individual choices make a difference, that love and sacrifice can triumph over evil and hate, and that what happened above this Pennsylvania field ranks among the most courageous acts in American history." 

"We have a duty to live our lives in a way that upholds the ideals for which the men and women gave their lives - to build a living memorial to their courage and sacrifice," 

a living memorial. I like that.  We are working on that every day.

Monday, August 29, 2011


I'm missing you extra today. Sophie starts kindergarten tomorrow and whenever I think about it I want to cry.   It's a combination of many things - I'm a little in denial that she is old enough to go. When I had little babies at home it was easier to deal with the fact that I won't be having any more. As they grow up it seems like that hurt gets a little worse.   Also, I think about all the things she will miss doing with you. School lunch visits and programs, etc. etc. Dealing with little kids who don't understand; saying she doesn't have a daddy. (She actually handles this one really well. - But it is heartbreaking to me to hear her explain. - but simultaneously so proud that she says without hesitation - Yes, I do have a daddy! His name is Brad and he is in heaven. He is hero and he loves me so much!)

I remember you coming to Ty's school in your uniform with all your gear - for the Veteran's Day Program. You made the kids laugh their heads off with your "red face". I'm not sure what it's called when you do that  g-force breathing , but it was a HIT.  You explained all about being a pilot and how planes fly. ( teachers afterward were talking about how you explained lift to them on their level SO well, they wanted you to come teach that unit for them.)  I remember Ty sitting a little taller in her seat and being so proud of her cool daddy.     For some reason  the school memories with Ty  - choir concerts, plays, graduation ceremonies, awards programs, field day, ball games - are all stuck in my brain on repeat and It breaks my heart that Sophie won't have that.

I know this day would be so fun for you. And I know that you will be right here with us. I know I need to get a grip and stop torturing myself with thoughts about all  Sophie will miss out on.  I know I need to stop being pissed that the school deleted all your info I wrote down on her registration card. (It didn't seem right to leave you off, like you were some dead beat dad, when it asked for information about her father; so I put your information in and wrote deceased in place of a phone number.  - When they asked me to double check the info on Back To School night everything about you was deleted. I kindof wanted to go kick the secretary on the way out and ask her if it really would have been so difficult to Type Sophie's Father's name on that stupid little card...)

soooo.... obviously I'm struggling a bit with this one.

The funny thing is - I am a teacher by profession. Elementary.  I quit when Sophie was born.  I should be overjoyed at the thought of her going to school. I love school. I know she will love it.  (and with Addie in preschool I will actually have 2 hours of kid free time, 3 days a week. ) I won't know what to do with myself! I've already got a to do list that would realistically take me about 5 years to complete that I will be working on during that time.

So there are some things that will be fun about it.  Sophie is so excited to go. and I really am excited for her too... I'm just sad about not sharing it with you.

I read this quote the other day by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain."

I guess it's been raining.  And so I'll just have to try to breathe,  resist the urge to kick the secretary, and wait this one out.  

Monday, August 15, 2011

not really alone

"I miss you extra today." she said as she walked
through the sand and allowed the tears to fall.
The  ocean was their place & she had loved
being there with himHere he had asked her
to be his foreverThey had livedplayed
 laughed  & carved their names in the sand.

It was hard to breathe without him today.

She talked to him as she walked & told him
how she  missed  him & wished he could walk with her.
She felt him  tell her that he was there;
that he was always there when she needed him.
She felt him tell her how he loved her
& that it  would  be  worth  it.

And although she could no longer see his face
she could feel his love lift her
and carry her along as she walked...

and she knew she was not really alone.

I love you my boy

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Writer's Block

I have writer's block.

I've been trying to write for the past few months and I sit down and get something down and then I get freaked out about putting it on here. I'm not sure why. Now that this is "public" it is a lot harder for me to just sit down and write about how i'm feeling - I've got all these other thoughts swirling around in my head while I'm trying to do it; and I'm questioning everything I put down and over analyzing it.

Does that sound like I think I know everything? (I'll be the first to tell you that I do not)  Does that sound too whiney, or angry or  whatever ?- or on the flip-side; too rose colored? ( I read one post and thought - That sounds like I've just got it all together and it's not real. I think i've been unconsciously editing out some things because I'm trying to see the positive and I don't want to appear whiney etc. because I realize I have so much to be thankful for and I feel ungrateful when I focus on the negative.  - but I also need it to be REAL. If I edit out every negative feeling then it's no longer real. And the people for whom I am writing -3 little Funk girls - will know that, and it won't be as meaningful as it could be)

I also worry that someone could be offended by something I write. or -  I said something nice about person X and I forgot to mention this nice thing that person Y did..... it goes on and on and you can see why, with all that swirling around in there, I can't get a sentence out.

so..... I've decided two things.
1. I need to write because it has proven to be like therapy to me and my girls will benefit someday. It really has nothing to do with anyone reading it. (It was a lot easier to for me to do it when no one was reading - and it's not even that tons of people are reading; it's just the idea that someone COULD read it that's freaking me out)
2.  - I've either got to go offline or just throw all that crap that's swirling around in my head OUT.

I'm going to choose to do the latter right now.

I'm not going to worry about offending someone - so if you are offended; that's cool. Know that it's not intentional and you are politely invited not to read. It's not being written for you anyway.

I'm not going to worry about appearing whiney, or angry or negative. I'll be honest, I am all of those things sometimes. (I think we all are)

I'm not going to worry about if people think I'm dealing with losing Brad well, or right, or if they think I should "move on" or that I'm livin in la la Land. What would they know about it anyway? Everyone deals with death differently. And just because I deal one way and you deal another doesn't mean either of those are wrong. It's not a right or wrong thing. I have been amazed at how, for some inexplicable reason, people think they need to RATE how someone is dealing with whatever tragedy/trial they are going through  - or offer their opinion or say how they would NEVER do this or can you BELIEVE they are doing that. blah blah blah - Really? (that's an SNL "REALLY?" by the way)  I promise you one thing - you don't know what you would do.  So please don't place judgment on others.

Now... if you think I'm a know it all... you are correct.  Ha! (just kidding, OBVIOUSLY, I have a lot to learn)

 I'm just sharing how I am muddling through all of this. - I talk about the things that have helped me because I want my kids to know where they can turn for help. I need to talk about things that are difficult because I have three little girls in this house who know first hand how difficult it is. And they will continue to have new hard things in each stage of life they go through that are associated with losing their daddy. I want them to know that it is hard; but that they are STRONG. And they can do hard things. And most importantly, that they are not doing them alone.

So, with that off my chest, hopefully I can kick this writer's block.

Monday, May 30, 2011


I read this in some little quote book (my favorite kind of book) 
Our best work is done with the heart breaking, or overflowing.
Now, I’m not sure that I’m really doing any official “work”; but since Brad’s death it seems like I go back and forth between those two extremes. Sometimes many times a day. Sometimes many times an hour.   
This weekend was a “heart overflowing” weekend.  
I have always loved Brad’s family. I really didn’t know most of them all that well before the accident. I knew one family a little better because Brad and I hung out a lot with them while we were dating.   We got married and two days later jumped in the U-haul and drove to Florida. We never lived close to family in our married time together. We always visited a few times a year; so I saw them over holidays and in the summer a bit. I always thought they were so fun and kind and Brad loved them more than anything and I loved them too; but I was still just getting to know them.  I don’t think I had had a conversation with many of them without Brad being with me.  So, after Brad’s death I could almost feel their fear. That they would lose their brother - and maybe not see his children anymore either. Saying that now seems a little strange; because they are such a big part of our life; but I remember feeling that they were worried about that at the time.  
Well, skip forward three years.  I remember talking to Brad and planning holidays - your family on Christmas eve, my family Christmas day, etc. Now it is “OUR” family. Everyone is our family. I really feel like that. I am overwhelmed by the love and support they show us.  I am so grateful for them. I feel like through them my littlest girls get to know a bit of their father. There was a time that some similarities were kindof hard.  Brad’s oldest brother, Lance resembles Brad a lot. Addie would just light up when she would see Lance. It was sweet and heartbreaking at the same time. Sophie; who usually takes a while to warm up to people; took right to Lance as well. She would insist on being with him.  She was old enough, and had enough memories of Brad to know that this wasn’t her father; but their were enough similarities that she was very comfortable being with him.  I had never really noticed the resemblance until after Brad’s death. It’s really more to do with mannerisms and the way he says things than physical resemblance I think.  There would be some times when it was hard for me to be around him because he would say something and sound just like Brad. I used to have to leave for a minute and get composed. I remember him playing with Addie when she was just starting to walk and he was trying to get her to walk to him. He was so excited and happy about it. If I closed my eyes it could have been Brad I was hearing. The exact same mannerisms and words Brad used doing that with Sophie. It would freak me out for a minute and I would have to take a little walk and get myself together.   It’s a good thing though. I love that each of my girls have Uncles they can see their father in.  They get to see uncle Clark once a week and I love it (they hang out up there all day and I get a “me” day.  I’m certain that my brother and sister in law are the reason I have not gone totally insane yet.)
this weekend we all got together. We went to see the play Les Miserables. That play is a special one for the Funk family. Their mother, Loni, loved it. I’m not sure if they ever got to see it all together. I know they had tickets when she was sick with cancer. She didn’t make it long enough to see the play; but I think all the kids still went together.  Brad loved the music from it.  (I would always joke with him that he was a total enigma. Type A fighter pilot one minute; singing Les Mis songs the next )  We would listen to the soundtrack while driving around and Brad and Tyler would sing every song at the top of their lungs. I had never seen the play, so on one long drive to Utah I got the 4 hour explanation from Brad interspersed with he and Ty performing every song. (It’s a very fun memory)  I was so excited to go and see it. and I was so excited that so many of Brad’s family were coming as well.  Being Memorial weekend i thought it was very fitting.  The play was wonderful and it was so great to be able to see it with them.  
When we got back from the play I walked in to this sparkling clean house. Brad’s sister Cheryl had stayed home from the play to help with the kids. (even after much attempted persuasion from me) She had cleaned and her husband Ralph had even done all the windows. Inside and out. Even the crazy high ones that I am certain have not been cleaned in 10 years. It was one of those overflowing moments and it make me cry. She said that it was my “Saturday before Mother’s Day”.   OUR family is amazing. 
Afterward, we wrote on balloons and gathered our flowers and went to the cemetery together. It was cold and rainy and the balloons we let go ended up a few yards away in a tree. Brad’s little brother Clark said that he thought that meant that Brad was really just closer than we thought. I think he’s right.
We came back and ate and hung out. It was great to see everyone and I am so grateful they made the effort to come. 
That night they divided up some of Brad’s clothing.  It’s been a process for me to get to the point where I could share it. It’s been a process for me to know that his “stuff” is not HIM.  When I moved in here I just put everything of his back in the same drawers and in the same place in the closet. (my closet is about half the size, so it’s been interesting over the years....ActualIy, I guess It’s really just been the same as always. - his side perfectly organized and my side a giant mess:)   
I gave all of his older clothing to his siblings pretty quickly; but If I had a memory of Brad in something; I kept it. It took me about two years to be able to take some of it out of my closet and put it in boxes downstairs.  About a month or two ago it flooded under my stairs; where most of Brad’s stuff was kept. I freaked out a bit. But it was out, so I started going through it. I think I just needed some time with it still around me because this time going through it I was so excited to share it with his brothers and sisters. He has some really nice things that they should be using. It shouldn’t be sitting under my stairs.  Of course, I saved my favorite things; uniforms and my favorite shirts. I saved enough for the girls to have some and I’m going to make a jean quilt out of his old jeans. The rest of it I was really excited to give away.   
One thing that makes me happy about it is they love it because it was Brad’s. They are honored to wear it because it was his. Lance said they wear shoes that are too tight and shirts that are too big - because they were Brads. I know it will be meaningful for them to have his things; so it was really fun to give them to them.  It was also good to go through everything and talk about our memories of Brad wearing it.  Those are the best days for me; when they are filled with memories of Brad. So this weekend could not have been more perfect. 
Lance and Sharley had come up early and they ran around and fixed up things that needed fixing in my home and hung things up for me. That was fun because I got to have a little glimpse of “Hurricane Brad” while they were here. Hurricane Brad doesn’t wait to be told what to do , he just sees something that needs to be done and does it - very, very quickly :) It was nice to have that for a few days. They got done in two days what would have taken me a month to finish.
I am so blessed to be part of this amazing family. Where lots of us aren’t even blood relatives and it doesn’t matter one bit. Everyone is the same. They come in and overwhelm you with love and support. I know why my sweet husband would light up every time he talked abut his amazing family.  I mean, OUR amazing family.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Swim. Bike. Run . FLY

Just got home from the St. George Triathlon.  I am tired, so this will be short - but I just have to say that we have the greatest family ever.   This is our third year doing the Tri in honor of Brad. The first year I was scared to death - even with the broken toe and not really being prepared to run the race; I was easily much more terrified of the news cameras that were there.  But it turned out great. Their story on Brad and everyone running in his memory was wonderful and it was so fun to see his handsome face on t.v.  (When I figure out how to post a link to the story I will add it )

I did the relay this year. Tyler ran like a champ (it's the first time she has really run since her ACL reconstruction) Aimee biked and shaved 7 minutes off her time from last year. I swam. Not very quickly. I was getting a little claustrophobic in my wetsuit and had to stop a bunch to just try to breathe.   I added a minute from last year - so that is kindof a bummer, but that's not really that big of a deal to me.  I'm not doing this thing to get a good time. The thing I love the most about doing the Tri is that I can feel my sweet husband with me every step of the way.  It's like he's right there whispering that I can do this.  I feel that from him every day. Whispers that I can do this and to just keep going.   This year we had bright green t-shirts with Swim, bike, run, FLY. In memory of Major Brad "Gyro" Funk on them. So I got to come out of the water to a sea of green shirts jumping up and down and cheering for me. That is the best part of the race. It is also a literal representation of what I feel from our amazing family on a daily basis.  It is overwhelming. ( in a good way, which is nice for a change)

Doing the relay might be wussing out a little; but then I get to go cheer for everyone else in our little clan running it and that is the other best part.

I know that Brad loves that we do this.   And that part makes me the happiest of all.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

Mother’s day is another one of those holidays that I loved so much when Brad was here - but is difficult now without him.  My first Mother’s day without him was the day after his funeral. That was a bad one. The other’s have been...o.k.   I struggled with it this year and tried to just stay distracted. We put on a little Grandmother’s Tea Party Friday - that was really fun and was a great  distraction. Ty and I went on a “turn” on Saturday that was really fun too. We went to Salt Lake and ate lunch and shopped around at a bunch of cute little stores.  Ty is my best little buddy. She is such a great kid. She makes me laugh my head off.  
I was telling the girls today at dinner about how special Brad always made mother’s day for me. He would clean the house from top to bottom the Saturday before and take me out somewhere fun. I always loved my date with him; but I LOVED that he cleaned every square inch of the house. He would tell me to leave and run errands or whatever I had to do that day and I would come home to find every single thing clean. We’re talking: bathrooms, kitchen - every room, spotless - even the garage.  He knew that I didn’t really love to clean and he didn’t really mind it, so he would actually surprise me like that every few months. He was so cute about it.  One time I came home early and opened the garage door to find him just finishing up in the garage. - and he was so funny because he was so bugged that I got home early and, as he put it, “ruined” his surprise.  I tried to tell him that although I did witness him sweeping; the surprise was not ruined - that the house was still clean and that I was still overjoyed. Ha! That is such a fun memory. :)  
Mother’s Day morning I would get breakfast in bed, flowers, a fabulous dinner made and a sweet card. When asked what I wanted for any holiday; I would tell him that I just wanted a card. - but that I wanted him to actually write in it. I loved those when they were given to me; but I can’t even express in words how much they mean now. I have this stack of priceless cards from him that I get to read when I need to hear his voice. I was  reading through some of them the other day. It is amazing to me that in nearly everyone he speaks of spending eternity together; How he can’t wait to be with me for eternity.  I even remember thinking that is was a little odd that he didn’t talk about growing old together - he just talked about spending eternity together. Well, I don’t think that’s odd anymore.  It’s just one more example to me that my sweet husband was very in tune. Reading those words from him on those cards is the greatest gift he could give me.
It dawned on me today that Brad went many Mother's Days without his mother.  And he got to spend this one with her.  That thought makes me happy. I never got to meet her. She passed away from cancer years before I met Brad. I do think that, from what I have heard about Loni, Brad was a lot like her.  If I could meet her today, I would thank her for raising such a wonderful, loving son.   and I'm sure that she's getting a great breakfast in bed in heaven today.
So, I’m a little ashamed to say that was having a little pity party for myself this morning; missing my Mother’s Day with Brad.   I was a little put out to be working and cooking and having no help on “my” day.  When I start to go into that “poor me” mode I have found usually only one thing that pulls me out of it. And it is totally cliche to even say it out loud; but it’s the only thing that works - And that is counting my blessings . (I know, I know... It sounds like I am making that up...but it really does work for me.) There are many nights that I actually have to start listing them outloud. I list them until it sinks in and I FEEL as blessed as I really am.    So today I had to start a list of why I am grateful that I have 3 crazy girls to care for everyday; even on mother’s day.   And you know what? That “little girl” list is pretty dang long.  :) Every night while putting Addie to bed I say  - “I love to be your mommy”; and she always replies with; “I love to be your Addie” and I always walk out of that room in awe of how happy those girls make me. I can’t even imagine how I would deal with losing Brad if I didn’t have my daughters. They  make me laugh and remind me to be happy. Sometimes they make me want to scream, but they are my biggest source of Joy. They teach me to have faith and be strong.  I am so grateful I get to be their mother.   

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Be Brave

Beginning 2.0

I have started a blog entitled One Widow’s Might. An explanation of this title is my first entry titled Beginning.  For about one year, I have been writing about my current circumstances—being the widow of my sweet, wonderful, heroic husband Brad.  Writing on this blog is therapeutic to me and provides a record of my thoughts, feelings and experiences that I want to be able share with my daughters. And, more than anything, I want to help my children get to know their amazing father as much as they possibly can. I want them to know how happy he made (and makes) me and how much he loves them. I feel that writing down my feelings may be a good way to convey this to them - and if my computer blew up, I would still have it - so the blog began.
 As I began to write, I did not necessarily intend to make this blog public. I wrote a few entries, and one day while attempting to locate my blog (- obviously computer savvy is not one of my strengths)  I stumbled upon a few blogs from other widows. I found myself reading, and reading and rereading. Many of these blogs were like reading my own thoughts. I think I  cried the whole time, but it was good to feel like somebody, somewhere knew a little bit of what I was feeling. It made me feel less alone.  They had dreams and plans and a whole life that seemingly got ripped apart one day.  And they are picking up the pieces and going forward. Their words are inspiring to me. Since reading these other blogs and having them affect me the way they did, I’ve felt like maybe I should be brave and put my words out there.  Although I have approached this with much hesitation, and many of my experiences with my sweet husband are too personal and sacred to share with others, there are some experiences that I feel may be appropriate and perhaps beneficial for others to read. Maybe someone, somewhere will read and it will be just what they needed to hear for that moment. Maybe someone will feel more understood and not as alone, like I have sometimes felt.  I have been hesitant to make this public for months, but I keep feeling like I should share. So this is me trying to be brave and put my ramblings out there. 
As I mentioned, the title of this blog is “One Widow’s Might”. Although I certainly do not believe myself to be mighty, I do think that we are all asked to do mighty things in our lives—and confront our daily challenges with everything we have (with all our might).  It has become increasingly clear to me that everyone has their own set of significant and, at times, heart-wrenching, challenges they deal with on a daily basis. We each have our own set of experiences and it is difficult to really know everything a person goes through or has to deal with. These experiences can sometimes challenge us to our very core—to the point that we are completely dependent on the intervention of a loving Heavenly Father and His administering angels. I like the name “One Widow’s Might” because I love the story of the Widow’s mite in the bible. She is truly mighty. Because she casts in all that she has and has faith that she will be carried and sustained. She knows her Savior will provide her with everything she needs; so she can give all she has. But, her giving is not the end of the story. I know that she received much, much more than she gave. She is an example to me. I hope to develop faith like her faith. She knows that she is mighty—not because of her own strength or power, but because of the strength and power of the one by whom she is carried. In this sense, we can all become mighty as we place an increased confidence in our Savior and draw upon his power to heal, comfort, and teach us—as we face our greatest challenges. 

Today marks three years since Brad’s death. I thought today might be an appropriate day to share this blog with others. On the morning of May 1, 2008, I was making pancakes for my girls. Tyler, who was 13 at the time, was already at school. Sophie was 2 1/2 and Addie was 6 months old. My doorbell rang and as soon as I opened that door; I knew all of our lives would never be the same. Standing there were about six Air Force personnel all dressed in their blues (something you never want to see if you have a husband serving in the Air Force). My husband, Brad was an F-15 pilot. He was an exceptional pilot and had boxes full of awards to show that it wasn’t just me who thought so. He was an even better husband, father and priesthood holder. He was my best friend, and I thought that our life together was perfect. The people standing on my porch that morning were there to tell me that Brad had been killed in a plane crash. He was flying with a student pilot and the engine had failed on approach. When they tried to eject, the seats collided in the air and because of that they hit the ground before the parachutes opened and both Brad and the other pilot were killed. 
Although, I don’t know that I will ever get to the point where I can say that I am grateful for this trial (I may need to get to the other side before I can say that), I can say that because of this experience I am a different person, and I am grateful for that. My relationship with my Father in Heaven and with my Savior is forever changed. When you have no earthly way of receiving comfort  you begin to learn to rely totally on your Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ.
I know where Brad is, and I know that he is not far. I feel him near me and our girls every day—in a very real way. I know that we will be together again. I have this knowledge and I am so grateful for it. But, that knowledge alone does not help much on the days that I find it hard to breathe without my sweet husband by my side. The knowledge of wonderful, joyous things to come is not enough. It is all so far off and sometimes, even with all my knowledge, I can't see it.  So on those days when everything I know doesn't help me out of bed, I am so grateful that I have something else. Something stronger and more immediate and real. (and something that is always constant - on good days and on bad days)  I have my Savior and his love. He lifts me and carries me and He is healing my broken heart. Sometimes I wish it were a faster process, but I know everything is controlled by Him and I have come to trust Him and His ways completely. He is the only one who has perfect empathy. Because he has felt every single thing that I  have felt. So along with my knowledge of happiness later with Brad,  I need my Savior personally today, and everyday.
 I am grateful for the role that Brad has in this healing process. He remains very involved in my life. Somehow, Brad continues to provide me great comfort—similar to how he did before, but through a different means. Little by little, the Savior heals me and little by little I learn that as I do His will I am blessed and strengthened far beyond my own capacity. I once believed that my life had been ripped apart. Now I am confident that my life has just altered course. Although I do not always appreciate the path I have been asked to walk down, I know that I would never be asked to walk this path alone. Over the past three years, I have witnessed how the Lord can help me walk this path, and that He mercifully allows those who have departed this life to remain very close by—in a very real way. Burdens that have felt like the whole world is crashing down on me and that no earthly remedy can cure have helped me more fully see that we have a kind and loving Heavenly Father who has a perfect plan that, if we allow it too, can make us happy and heal our hearts; even in the midst of our greatest sorrow. This plan can give us peace even in the midst of our greatest fear. It can give us amazing joy even while in the midst of our most unimaginable loss. One thing I know for certain is that we are never doing it alone— not ever.  As I write and read other’s experiences, I continue to realize that very fact—we are never alone. In addition to not being alone, we have a loving Heavenly Father who provides us tender mercies that help us understand what is going on. I have found that these tender mercies often manifest themselves in my life through the kind and thoughtful actions of others who have gone through what I am going through or who can, somehow, relate with a portion of my experiences. In short, our Heavenly Father tells us that we are not alone and, then, if we allow Him, provides evidence of that fact. I hope that perhaps this blog may help show others —irrespective of the gravity of their challenges and of the depth of hurt they feel in their souls— that they, like me, are never alone.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Tonight I am tired. The craft market was yesterday. We baked for about 20 hours straight, finishing around 6 am, just in time to jump up at 8 and head over to sell our little cupcakes all day. I am still recovering.

Every time we do a market, I miss my sweet husband extra.   While we were in Florida and Texas he was my official crafting partner. (I'm sure he'd just LOVE that title;)  He hauled everything to and from shows, hung out with me and was my biggest cheerleader and best salesman.  He peeled vinyl and cut wood and built boxes. He went without dinner and clean clothes and took care of kids while I painted and designed. He never complained. He actually had me convinced that he enjoyed it. I'm not sure that he really enjoyed it; but I know that he knew how much of a help he was to me, that I couldn't do it without him and how happy it made me that he was so awesome about it. He knew that creating something was so fun for me. I think helping me and making me happy was probably the only thing he liked about it.  When people would ask me about my "business" Brad would laugh and say that it wasn't really a business - more like a really expensive hobby.  But he encouraged me to make things - whether they sold or not. He celebrated with me when a show went well and said I would have really great gifts to give everyone I knew when it did not go so well.

I remember Brad leaving work to come help me set everything up for parties because I was 8 months pregnant and he didn't want me carrying everything in by myself.   During the last open house we had at our home, 6 days before his death; a few friends needed to come early to the party. I helped them with their orders while Brad scrubbed the kitchen floor on hands and knees and put the food out for me.  "How did you train him to do that??" they asked.   I said that I didn't. He just came that way.

The first market I did was about 6 months after Brad died. I bawled on the drive there and back. It felt so strange to be doing it without him.  That was the first time we made our cupcakes and this little business was born. I wanted to share it with him so badly. He would have been so proud - because we actually sell our little cupcakes, unlike most of the other stuff he helped me make.  I'm sure a sold out show would have made him bust out one of his standing back flips.  But, I'm guessing he can still do that in heaven.

So now, even though we are baking cupcakes instead of making signs; my thoughts turn to my sweet husband every time we do a show.  It usually starts out with me being frustrated. - Because no one is carrying everything for me and it takes me 2 hours to set up what Brad could have done in 20 minutes. I feel bad for myself for a minute and then I remember how lucky I am to have this amazing man love me. How lucky I am that he always encouraged me to do things that made me happy - even if it was a huge pain in the butt for him. How lucky I am to have all these sweet memories of creating with my "Official Crafting Partner".  How lucky I am that he made me feel like the luckiest woman in the world. And even now, I can say that I still feel that way. I miss him so much that I can't put it into words. But when I think about my sweet husband what I feel  - more than the pain of him being gone - is this overwhelming love and gratitude.  Gratitude that I got to be his wife and be left with millions of happy memories.   And his love I still have. It still inspires me and makes me feel like I can do anything.  It is something that never ceases to amaze me. That feeling that I had so often when Brad was here - that feeling that I was finally home. That I was safe to be me because he knew everything about me and loved me so much. It was like a little glimpse of eternity. It is very empowering. I guess the thing that is amazing to me is that he still makes me feel that way. That feeling - that came only from Brad - is still here. I still have his love and it is amazing to me how powerful that can be.   I read this the other day in a little quote book

"When you have nothing left but love, then for the first time you become aware that love is enough."

For me, it's more than enough.

Unfortunately, it can no longer carry tables and 50 dozen cupcakes :), but it still carries me.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


It was your birthday on Saturday. We had a good day. We celebrated and tried to make it about you. The girls loved it.  They scribbled on balloons and blew out candles.  We watched home movies and Ty even loved that part. 

 Your last birthday that we spent together was packed with some of my favorite memories.  It was so fun. We celebrated all week. I surprised you with an F-15 cake and you were so cute about it. You went on and on about how cool you thought it was. One of my favorite pictures is of you holding Sophie up to it; pointing out all the different parts - and you have this GIANT grin on your face. That moment, by its self,  made the 8 hours spent making it so worth it. (and the fact that you didn’t notice, or just didn’t complain - that we were all still in pajama’s when you got home from work; with nothing ready to eat except a birthday cake that we were saving for your party the next day.)   We invited people over that weekend and ate fondue, played games, hung out and laughed really hard.   

One thing I’ve missed so often and so much since losing Brad is simply making him happy.  The privilege of making someone you love happy is a gift in its self. I did not realize how much of a privilege it was, until I didn't have it any longer.  Making Brad happy was one of my favorite things. - Probably because it was so easy to do.  It was so fun to think of little things to do for him. He was so easily impressed by my smallest effort to bring him joy. And he was so grateful for everything. (and he shared that gratitude with me everyday) Every meal, every household job, or thoughtful gesture - he went on and on about it and was so grateful.  There were many days when I’m sure he had to look around pretty hard to come up with something to say thank you for - but he always did. He made it so fun to want to please him. I miss doing things for him. I miss making him happy. ( I can feel him whisper that I still make him happy. That is just like him.)
Because of Brad, I have so many gifts in my life. The greatest gifts; that don’t come from a store. He gave me the greatest blessings I have in my life.  He gave me beautiful daughters, who make me happy just about every minute; who, through them, I still get to see their daddy.  

When were were married he gave me the gift of being the most amazing father to Tyler. He loved her like she was his own. He spent time with her and made her a priority. He taught her and played with her and talked to her about life and what kind of person she wanted to become. He told her to go for it - and that she could do anything.  He helped her see that you can be “good” and fun and happy and really, really cool all at the same time. I love that she saw the way he treated me everyday; because she needs to find someone who will treat her the same.

He gave me the gift of himself.  Sharing life with someone who loved and adored me was so wonderful I have a hard time putting it into words. He made me feel safe and beautiful and cherished. He made me laugh and made me happier than I even dared to dream I could be. His love was very empowering. I felt like I could do anything with him by my side. I had his love and that was all I needed.  All.   
And amazingly, that gift is still giving. Even though he is not physically here. He is so close. His love has not changed at all. It is still lifting, empowering and carrying all those it touches.  He is my inspiration everyday. To keep going, and to believe that I can do this; when so many times I feel like I can not.  He whispers that he loves me and that I CAN do this, and that it will be worth it.  And he reminds me to find JOY on the way. I know he is happy when we are. So it’s just like when he was here on earth - if I’m attempting to make him happy - I’m really making myself happy as well.

I would like this day to be a day where we, as a family, think about gifts we can still give to him. I know that what we are doing here on Earth can still make Brad very happy.   This is what I would like to give my sweet husband:

I will  teach our children about their daddy everyday.  I will help them, the best I can, to KNOW him and to know how much he LOVES them. I will try to teach them what things were important to him, what kind of man he was and how happy he made their mama.  I will try to find joy everyday and try to help each of us focus, not on what we have lost ; but on what we will always have.  This amazing man; Father and Husband;  whose love is still with us and carrying us.

He is also giving gifts that, while I may not be able to see them. I feel them, and so do our children. 

Sophie made him a birthday card. She is five.  She wrote "To Daddy" on her own, and told me that she couldn't write the rest by herself. This is what she asked me to write for her:  " You are really here. Thank you for being with me when I am lonely and sad and miss you. I love you Daddy. Happy Birthday."     

That is a powerful gift. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011


It's been a while. I'm going to attempt to do this more often. I read through this blog for the first time in 6 months a few days ago and I realized that it is so good for me to write - because I can go back and read it when I'm having a bad day (or month, as the case may be - February...I pretty much loathe you.)  and it helps so much. It helps me remember all these things that I already know, but on difficult days I can't quite recall.

February used to be one of my favorite months because we would pretty much party the whole month. Ty's birthday, Valentines Day (we would stretch that to a Valentines week - just for fun) and Brad's birthday - all in February. Now, it's too many significant days, too close together and it's a little too much for me to handle sometimes.  - and now it's freezing and depressing as well, so that just adds to the fun.  

This February Ty will turn 16. Birthday's are always a little bit hard and bittersweet.  It is another unmistakable mark of the passing of time; one more birthday without Brad.  16 seems to be especially difficult for me. Ty has all these firsts coming up  - Driving, first car, first date. I remember talking about all those things with Brad and how soon they would be here. I never imagined that we would be doing them without him.

Sophie has now celebrated more birthdays without her daddy than she did with him.  That was a significant one for me. Addie has celebrated every birthday without him.  I still feel a little bit like I'm living in a time warp - it seems like just yesterday they knocked on my door -but birthdays and babies growing up are evidence that I can not argue with.

Time is a funny thing. It plays tricks on you. In many ways, that day seems so close - and that is not all bad. I like that he doesn't seem so far away. That it really hasn't been almost three years since he's made me laugh. - and sometimes it seems like a whole lifetime has gone by. That our life together was just this too good to be true dream.  People always say that time heals; and I do think that is true - to an extent.  Time can help. It's like it puts a barrier over this raw, gaping wound and helps it not be quite so sensitive -  but Time is fickle.  Time also makes him feel far away. And there is nothing that I want more than for him to be close by.  I would take gaping wound over far away any day.

So I am trying to make peace with the passing of time.

Brad's birthday is the one day that I can say does not make me sad.  Two years ago Brad's sister Cheryl called and said that for Brad's birthday she wanted to come up and help me with whatever I needed help with. That was her gift to him. I, of course, thought that was a great idea. - His other siblings got wind of what Cheryl was doing and they all decided to come up and help.  It was such a wonderful gift to me.  I felt strongly about celebrating his birthday (and that it actually be fun for everyone) so they weren't allowed to work all day. They helped with things around the house for half the day and we went to the temple and the cemetery all together as a family. The girls "sent messages up to daddy" on balloons and we came back and celebrated with cake and games.  It was a great day. and it was exactly what Brad would have wanted - all of us together.

One thing I have noticed about those difficult days is that they are never as bad as I think they are going to be.  Brad is always closer on the difficult days. So that makes them be not only bearable; but  days to expect miracles.