Thursday, August 19, 2010


It sounds goofy to say out loud or in print.  But there's really nothing funny about it.

I almost died last night.

Sometimes people say that to be dramatic.  As an exaggeration.  But I say it only to be accurate.

We spent a fun day yesterday at the local theme park with Bryan's family.  They're out here dropping off his little sister who's starting school out here at the end of the month.  We stayed up at the park all day and, despite only getting one 45 minute nap, Olivia was so good.  She was happy and laughing and chill the entire time.  Bryan's dad doesn't do rides anymore, so he volunteered to watch Olivia while Bryan and I enjoyed some.  By the end of the day Olivia had Bryan's dad just wrapped around her little finger.  (Not to mention her Nana and the doting line of aunties and uncles there to entertain her every whim.)  When we were getting ready to go Olivia was starting to get a little fussy, so we stopped passing her around between aunts and uncles and grandparents and I was just holding her.  But for the first time that Bryan or I can remember she didn't want me.  Nope, she just wanted her grandpa.  We don't think he fully appreciates the high compliment he received. 

Well, Olivia had been amazingly good all day, but her regular bed time is at 8:30pm and around 8:00pm she finally started to lose it.  So we said goodbye to the gang and headed back home.  The sun was just setting as we headed out.  It was a beautiful, memorable sunset.  It looked like something fake you'd see in the movies; you could actually see rays of sun bursting out.  Olivia cried for a little bit, and then fell asleep.  Bryan and I were just talking, heading home.

Then, all of a sudden, Bryan started to slow down as quickly and carefully as he could.  The cars ahead of him were significantly slowing down for traffic.  NO.  They weren't slowing down.  It wasn't traffic.  Those cars were SWERVING.  Everywhere.  All at once.  That was when we saw it.  A white car.  No headlights.  Coming right at us.

It's hard to explain, but everything sort of stopped for a moment.  My mind froze.  Perhaps it was preparing for the worst.  It had seen what was coming and knew it would be shutting down soon.  Fading out.  If I had been driving I don't think I would have had the sense to do what Bryan did.  I think I would have just stayed frozen.  I'm so, so glad Bryan was driving.

Things didn't stop in his brain.  First he swerved hard and fast to the left, felt that he was starting to lose control of the car, and then corrected it by swerving just as hard and fast to the right. 

Then it was over.  The car had passed.  We were all okay.

Olivia woke up in the back seat and started crying.  We told her it was all okay now.  I kept looking in the rear view mirror, trying to see what was going on behind us.  Hoping and praying with all my heart that we wouldn't see signs of a huge accident.  But the night was black and I couldn't see anything except a sea of headlights.  I called 911 right away, but when I told them where we were the dispatcher asked if I was calling to report a car driving the wrong way.  I said, "Yes," and she quickly ended the conversation, telling me it had already been reported and they had already sent help.

A moment later we saw cop cars.  At least half a dozen cop cars spaced a few minutes apart, lights and sirens on, driving on the other side of the freeway toward that car.  I kept hoping and praying there wasn't a fatality behind us.  But with that many cop cars passing us that soon it seemed almost certain there had to have been an accident.

We spent the rest of the drive home afraid another car was going to come at us at any moment.  I can only compare that feeling of helpless panic to the way I felt on and just after September 11, 2001.  This terrible, horrible, deathly frightening thing just happened.  And it could happen again.  And I won't know when and I won't know where.  God, protect me.

I felt a great sense of relief when we finally got off the freeway.  When we got home we checked the news right away.  In the traffic section there was a note of the fact that an accident had occurred, but no information about it.  It was just in the list of traffic delays for others to avoid.  It seemed so cold to see it that way.  To us, it could have been our lives.  But to the news at that moment and to others it was nothing but a traffic delay.  Bryan and I were in a car accident last year.  It wasn't serious and nobody was hurt, but it still ruined the vacation we were headed out on and cost us a lot of money.  Every time since then that we've seen or heard of an accident we've felt differently about it.  We both think, "Somebody is having a terrible day."  And I always say a little prayer in my heart that nobody was hurt and that it will be okay.  It seems like the traffic updates ought to at least report it a little differently.  "Someone is having a terrible day at such and such a place.  So it means you might be late to your job interview, but you can at least be glad you're all right."  Or, "Somebody just died here.  Now a lot of people are having an unimaginably hard day.  And while the slow traffic you'll experience will soon be a thing of the past, their families will never forget what happened today."

This morning when I checked the news again it had a five minute blurb on what happened.  Apparently the person driving the wrong way was a woman who they think was under the influence of prescription medication.  And we were right that there was an accident, but I was relieved to find out that all she had hit was a highway patrol car and that the officer driving it seems to be okay.  The bit on the news said that the officer was able to walk onto the ambulance himself and seems to be all right.  And that the woman was treated for a few bumps and bruises and was then taken into custody.  (I do like to give credit to my sources, so if you're interested you can watch the clip and/or read the article HERE.)

A little while after we got home last night, just before we went to bed, I finally cried about it.  In fact, I sobbed.  You try not to, but you really can't help thinking of all the terrible things that could have happened.  Especially, I kept thinking that I could have died or that Bryan and I both could have died.  We were sitting in the front seats.  It would have hit us head-on, and at the high, freeway speeds we were going, we really both could have died.  Olivia could have been orphaned last night.  That thought kept rolling over and over in my head until finally it all came out in sobs.

Bryan told me that he knew it wasn't just him driving our car.  I knew what he meant.  He had had divine help.  So I know it's true when I say that I could have died last night.  But I also know that Heavenly Father didn't want for that to happen.  He still wants me here.  He still wants us together here.  And when I know that, then I know that Heavenly Father still has work for me to do here.  Maybe not anything big by the world's standards.  Perhaps its just doing what I've already been doing.  Taking care of my family.  Spending time with them.  Loving them and being loved by them.  Spending my days with Bryan and Olivia.  Serving in my calling at church.  Getting to know my neighbors.  Taking care of my body.  Studying the scriptures every morning so I can try and know better what He wants me to do.  Just one of these things might be little.  But all of these things together is what I know I've been sent here to do.

I feel so blessed to be here.  And to keep on doing just that. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Days We Don't Forget

There are days we don't forget.  Like, for instance, if I asked you, "What were you doing when you found out the planes had crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001?" you would be able to tell me.  Right away.  Just like that.

I'd tell you I remember walking into Mr. Eagan's early morning Algebra 2/Trig in that open, pretty room on the third floor of the old high school and looking up at the Channel 1 TV that was on.  The image of a plane crashing into a building.  World Trade Center.  A yellow Tupperware sippy cup with the lid on and chocolate chip Pop Tarts in hand.  Staring at the screen.  I had no idea what was going on.

Today is another day I don't forget.  Today is August 3.  The third of August.  The last day of my life.  Or at least the life I was comfortable in.  On August 3, 2005, my husband left to serve a two year mission for our church.  No more kissing him goodbye.  No more holding hands.  No more talking on the phone.  No more sound of his laughter.  For two years.

If somebody else wrote this and I was reading it I would think how cheesy it all sounded.  In my head I would call them a baby, stop reading, move on and not think of it again.  What a whiner.

But since I'm not somebody else and I'm me I don't say that.  I can honestly say that those two years without my husband (boyfriend at the time) was the hardest thing I've ever been through in my life.  Harder than divorced parents and visitation and all of that.  Harder than school and tests.  Harder than auditions for school plays.  Harder than deaths of family and friends.  Harder than pregnancy.  Harder than physical pain.  Because physical pain always seems to go away after a little while.  But I felt a constant ache for two years straight.  I felt a deep, long loneliness.  I cried more than I've ever cried in my life about any one thing.  I wrote him letters like I breathed.  I read those letters now and can't even finish one.  They make me want to barf from all the cheesiness.  But I really felt those things then.

I lived two years of my life not knowing.  But not knowing built quite a lot of faith.  I don't say that to boast.  But to say that, even though I didn't want to go through it, Heavenly Father used that terrible time to build me and shape me.  It was a time I don't forget.  I don't forget all the times when I felt reassured.  I don't forget all the ways I felt comforted in my despair.  And I don't forget the way it all worked out in the end.

Five years later it's August 3rd again.  It's a regular day.  I'm happily married to the man I missed so much.  Our daughter is napping.  I can honestly say that I don't have any real worries.  But five years ago I couldn't honestly say that.  And so, for the sake of all that I learned in the time in between, this is a day I don't forget.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Taste of the Valley

Taste of the Valley
A dilly, a dally
A nibble of this and of that
The meat and the bread
And balloons overhead
My tummy is round that was flat

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Snow, snow

Snow, snow
Go away
And don't come back
'Till Christmas day

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Deaths from My Childhood

I'm not sure why, but this post reminds me a lot of my growing up years in Oregon City.  It's a fairly uneventful place, but we've sure had a lot of strange and saddening deaths for being an "uneventful place." 

When I was little a girl that lived two houses down from me and across the street was murdered by a drug addict that was staying with the family.  I remember going to visit her gravestone in the local cemetery when I was little.  There was a picture of a lamb on her gravestone.

When I was a freshman in high school Ashley Pond and Marissa Gaddis (two middle school girls) went missing.  My older sister was a "Big Sister" to Ashley Pond in the Big Brother Big Sister program when Ashley was in grade school, so I didn't know Ashley very well, but I had walked to school with her a few times.  I knew who she was.  A search for these girls went on for months.  Finally the police found their bones buried in a cement slab in the back yard of their killer, a man who lived at the top of the hill next to the girls' apartment complex where the kids from that complex waited for the school bus.  The words "cement slab" make me think of nothing else but those girls and their bones being buried in his back yard.  Young girls didn't walk around Oregon City alone anymore after that.  To this day I can still remember their faces from the missing person signs that hung around the whole town for months.  Like those old "Proud to be an American" signs that people printed off and taped in their car windows after 9-11, the missing person signs stayed up and the printer ink faded. 

There was a cat woman who lived at the head of our dead-end street name Sharon.  Her house smelled terrible.  And she never let anybody go inside it.  She lived alone.  She was a member of our ward, but I don't remember her ever really going to church.  But my step dad was her home teacher, so there was a while there where she came to our house for dinner every Sunday.  She gave my mom a blue and white striped apron that I really like.  She gave my brother a painting of a dragon and a wizard.  A few years later Sharon moved away.  It was some time after that when my mom read in the paper that Sharon's daughter had been arrested.  Apparently Sharon's daughter had hired a hit man to kill a couple of people at her work.  Well, when the hit man turned out to be an undercover cop, Sharon's daughter had asked if she could get off a little easier if she told the cops some dirt on her mom.  I guess they said yes because that's when it came out that Sharon had murdered her husband several years earlier.  She had killed him and made it look like he had a heart attack while cutting wood out in the back yard. 

That was in 1986.  The year I was born.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sticky Up Hair

Sweet little stander
Sucky on your finger
Do the talky talkies
Baby girl

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Book That Waits Within... Will Have to Keep Waiting

I told myself
"I'll write a book"
But then was not sure where to look
Inside myself
For inspiration
Memories fade
And there's no explanation
For the things I've forgot that might have been shared

There's not even a way
To end this little ditty
I feel I'm all out of writing and witty

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Lying A Little

I might have been lying a little
When I told you that I was committed
I might have been lying a little
When I claimed to be funny and whitted
I might have been lying a little
When I told you that I'd write a lot
And I might still be lying a little
When I tell you that maybe I'm not