Monday, September 7, 2009

Moments

I read somewhere that a moment is defined as a significant period of time lasting approximately 90 seconds. Life is defined by these significant periods of time, these moments. The moment you know you love someone more than you've ever loved anyone else...the moment you look into a new baby's eyes for the first time but you feel like you've seen them before...the moment you realize for sure what you're destined to do in this life...the moment the sun hits the horizon in the most spectacular sunset imaginable...the moment your life changes and it will never, ever be the same...moments.


Recently I visited with some old friends. The conversation turned to the day Matt died and one of my friends mentioned that looking back on it, the day must be a blur. You'd think...but it isn't. It was one year ago today and I remember every tiny detail.


Matt began traveling regularly (and by "regularly" I mean he was out of town more than he was in town) when I was pregnant with our first baby. I always felt down in my gut that something would happen to him on one of these trips. I remember several times he would come home late at night after hours or days of driving and flying and I would breathe a sigh of relief and think to myself "not this trip." We'd have long talks about my feelings and every time he would tell me that nothing was going to happen. "How do you know?" I would ask. "I just know," he would answer. And I believed him...mostly.


The moment I saw the Highway Patrol officer standing on my doorstep I just knew. It sounds cliche, right? Because that's exactly how it happens in the movies--hours after the loved one should have returned home there's a knock at the door. It's a Highway Patrol officer. He introduces himself before he asks to come in and sit down. He says something along the lines of "I'm sorry to have to tell you that there's been an accident..." I remember with excruciating clarity exactly how I felt at that moment. I've only felt that way once before...


When I was in high school I went to Mexico as part of a student exchange. An insanely high fever and some other issues that I don't blog about landed me in a hospital there. I remember the commotion going on, a little boy screaming his head off behind the curtain next to me and then out of nowhere someone stabbed my shoulder with an enormous needle and pumped into my body what felt like acid. It burned through every vein in my body like wildfire in a forest. When the burning stopped, the fever was gone too and I was left with the most bizarre feeling of emptiness...


After the officer left I called my parents. I could hardly catch my breath and when my dad answered the phone all I could get out was "Matt's dead." As soon as those words passed my lips I knew I had said them before...in another time, in another place, in another lifetime perhaps...but those exact words in that exact way.


I've said many times over the last year, "We don't get to choose our trials." But what if we do? What if there is a time in our premortal existence...a moment...when we are gathered around a huge pile of trials and challenges and obstacles and we point to part of the pile and we say "Give that to me. I can take it."


What if Matt and I agreed that we'd rather be together for just a brief time on this earth than not be together at all? What if I looked ahead at my life at all I would have gained and learned and experienced and I decided it was worth the heartache and pain? What if I chose this?

14 comments:

mbunker said...

Love you Brenda.... Thinking of you today. I do think we can know of some of the challenges that we will face before we come to earth but we still want to come to enjoy and learn and grow. Thanks for your blog it always makes me remember to love my family and enjoy them!

Jen said...

Praying for you today.

- lola jae said...

we love you brenda.

Brooke said...

I guess I have never really thought about that. I love how your blog really makes me think about things. And yes, it always makes me remember to love my family and to never take a day for granted! You will be on my mind all day today. Love you Brenda.

Julie said...

I love you Brenda, and am thinking of you! I have actually been thinking of you a lot lately! Although I can't believe it has been a year, I am sure it has been the longest year of your life...Through your challenge you have amazed me with your strength and your courage! I think that all your friends and family have seen you as an incredible source of strength and happiness! I think if you guys did choose this challenge, you knew that the time apart would be short and that you would be together again soon...Thank you for sharing this day with us and I wish I was there to buy you a big ol fat ice cream! Maybe you could have one anyway and think of me thinking of you....talk soon!!!

Kristen said...

Brenda, thank you for being able to share your thoughts and feelings with everyone. You are amazing and it's great to have the reminders about how precious life is. I think about you often and am grateful to have you as my friend!

Mom said...

Brenda...you and the boys are always in our prayers but especially yesterday and today. We are praying for something special and nice to be part of your day and remembering about Matt. Love you.

modern myrtle said...

Hi Brenda,

I hope you remember me from your parents ward... :)

Your post reminds me of a lesson that a friend of mine taught me a few years ago. This friend of mine was the mom of 5 kids--three girls and two boys. Her daughters were the best of friends---even as adults. One night her three daughters went out to dinner and were killed in a car accident on the way home to their families. All three gone at once. I can't even imagine. She told me of a time that she went through a period of bitterness, years after the accident. She found herself teaching a primary lesson about free agency, and thought, "I didn't choose this!" Then the Spirit gently told her, "Yes, you did." She was taught by the Spirit in that moment that the principle of agency is not just something for this life. We are taught that we had that gift in Heaven before we came--to decide whether we would follow our Father's plan. She realized that she indeed had agreed to this trial. That gave her so much peace. She shared this with me when I was struggling with the loss of my twin sons who were stillborn. It brought me a lot of peace as well.

Your perspective and strength is amazing. You inspire me!

-- Joni Gardine

Mark and Alissa Peterson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark and Alissa Peterson said...

What an amazing insight.

When we decided to expand our family, I found myself thinking a lot about the 'what-if's'... however whenever I wanted to pray to my Father in Heaven to ask for a 'normal' child, one without mental handicaps or physical limitations, I was NEVER been able to say the words, I just couldn't bring myself to say them.

Today, even though I found out one of my sons is affected by Autism and my risk for having more children with Autism rises (above that of those who don't have any Autistic children), I STILL can't find myself able to ask Heavenly Father for a 'normal' child.

I will admit to having some anxiety as we plan to expand our family again. The same questions come and then my tongue fails. Will I have a child with severe handicaps? Will they be Autistic? Will they suffer other medical or genetic issues?

But then almost as quickly as they come the Spirit helps me feel peace. Telling me no matter what happens, I can handle what comes my way and be able to find happiness in my life.

What's 'normal' anyway?! :)

Your insight is very enpowering. I am absolutely convinced my sons were chosen for me (and my husband). But I had never thought about choosing our trials. Thank you for sharing.

ROSENFAM said...

Your insight and strength truly amazes me Brenda!!! Thinking of you and your boys today!

Ashlee Kent said...

I love you and am thinking of you!!! You are an amazing women!!!!

Sami said...

Thinking of you and the boys! Love you all.

dustin and amy said...

I love your way with words, you make us all think a little deeper. Thank you for that.