Last year, I specifically planned to be on the road. I didn't want to be around people and I was unsure of how the boys would do with a day filled full of talking about dads. But I didn't want to completely forget about the day. After all, they do have a remarkable father. And I never want them to forget that!! I knew that we would be touring the Redwood Forest. I decided that we would celebrate Damond in those magnificent trees. I told them it was Father's Day and that it was ok to be sad and miss their dad. But that I wanted them to remember that their dad was like the Amazing Trees we were surrounded by. He was a GIANT of a man, who stood tall, not because of his height, but the way in which he lived his life. (and he was also really fun to climb all over in play) ;)
Redwood National Park June 2013
This time I didn't allow myself to let us go hide in a forest of trees (haha), but I did want to emphasize another great quality of their dad. I decided to take the boys to the medical school. When Damond and I first toured IU, I remember we walked past a wall of pictures. In each frame were individualized pictures of a certain years' graduating class. I remember commenting to Damond that within four short years, his picture would be there. I told the boys that I wanted them to remember that Damond's picture is hanging in that school, because he believed in hard work! He worked hard in all that he did.
(Indiana University School of Medicine June 2014)
Father's Day is a tough day, especially when Jacob puts his arms around your neck and says, "I want my dad" and wants to stay in the medical school trying to find his dad. But we made it through the day and are so grateful for their AMAZING Father and his long-lasting example.
I continue to be grateful for the amazing father figures that have stepped in and been there for my boys. Be it grandfathers, uncles, Home Teachers, family friends, Coaches, what you think may be small acts, will have deep effects on their happiness, growth and development.
It’s been 15 months. 15 Long, Hard Months. I often look back at the time and think, “how is that possible? What have I done and accomplished with that time?” Upon reflection, I see that I (and the boys) have had to do many hard things.
hearing the words, “he didn’t make it” those words ring in my ears
having to tell the boys their dad died
Feeling so helpless as I held them while they cried
Touching his hands one last time
Having to walk away from his body so he could be buried
Moving out of our home filled with memories
watching two little boys walk to school, thinking, “they are too little to be without their dad”
holidays, birthdays, family events
receiving his diploma that he worked so hard for
holding them, as they cry “that they miss their daddy”
not sleeping, because the bed is so empty
seeing someone in scrubs
being so physically and emotionally exhausted, when they ask you to sing them goodnight, you just want to say, “go to bed”
moving into our new home without him
watching the boys play football/sports without him
making family decisions without his input
The list could go on, but this is what I want the boys to know.
I have done hard things, but not of my own strength!
As I have faced each of these hard things, I have thought, “I can’t do this. This is too hard. This is too much!”
See the real me, the weak me, is the one that sobs in the shower or stoplight. The one that crawls into bed, because I can’t continue. The real me, answers, “go to bed.” instead of singing. The real me has a hard time finding the old me who was happy, kind, patient, fun, loving.
But inevitably, just like in the hospital when strong arms surrounded me and held me up when I couldn’t stand, a still, small voice whispers in my heart,
“Jesus said unto him, “if thou canst believe, all thing are possible to him that believeth.”
If there is anything I learned while sobbing at stoplights, it's this...
I am not the only one that cries at stop lights.
Every one has their own trials.
Jesus Christ is there for each one of us.
He loves each one of us.
He weeps with us over our sorrows,
and smiles with our joys.
Lucky for me, the real me doesn’t have to do this alone.
I have never been alone.
Even during the darkest moments, my Savior Jesus Christ has been there for me.
It Because of Him that I can face each day. It is “Because of Him” that I know I will see Damond again.
It is “Because of Him” that I know Families Are Forever.
We drove down to Yuma today. I was remembering our drive to Yuma last year. It was Christmas day. We had opened Santa gifts that morning. Your dad called all his siblings and parents. I remember thinking it a little funny that he did that, because we were would see almost all of them in a couple of hours. He sure loved his family!!! We convinced you guys to leave your new toys from Santa, with a promise that you guys could play with them when we came back. Little did we know that you would not open them for another year!
We quickly played a couple more rounds of Nertz. I was the Champion that day, I even beat Diego! ;) It was one of the only games that I could beat your dad at! But he was always a good sport, but you could almost see his competitive soul trying to figure out a way to get faster! Thomas, you had just learned how to play the game. Your dad encouraged you to try hard, but when you asked if we would just let you win one time, he said, "no!" We all had a good chuckle, knowing it was in part to his competitive self, but more importantly he knew you would become a great player as long as you worked hard at it!
I stayed up really late the night before fulfilling my Santa duties. :) I eventually fell asleep in the car. I woke up to see your dad reading his Cardiology book! That made me sit up real fast. "Damond Farar! What are you doing?!" "He turned to me and said, "no one is on the road! I have been going 100 mph for the last 45 min."
"You are going 100 mph AND reading a book?! Damond, you put that book down and slow down." (it was not normal for Damond to go that fast)
I know he wanted to keep studying, but he did what I asked. I soon fell asleep again. The next time I woke up, he was still going 100 mph, but no longer reading and driving. He began to describe the beauty of the desert. I thought it interesting due to the fact that we always argued about its beauty. While living in Indiana, he would always comment on how much he loved all the green! I would respond that yes, the grass was nice, but I dearly loved the desert. He thought the desert too brown. (His main reason for loving grass was playing football on it)
He told me about how beautiful the mountains looked with their jagged outlines against the blue sky. He noticed the different colors of each plant.
As I reflected on this, I realized that sometimes life is going 100 mph around us, but hopefully we can take the time to see its beauty. Even though our schedules may be packed, we can enjoy the people that surround our lives. Take time today to hug the people you love and tell them how much you love them. We never know when we may go from 100 mph to 0.
A couple of days ago, my brother sent me the link to this West Jet Christmas video. I immediately started crying as I watched these people in Blue Santa Hats go and buy what the travelers wanted for Chrstmas, from iPads to socks ;) By the end of the video, I wanted to be a Blue Santa Hat.
Well, today the boys had their wishes come true, not by Blue hats, but Blue uniforms. They were selected to participate in Shop with a Cop. Lucky for us, our cop happened to be Damond's bestfriend, Matt. It was so amazing to watch as this HUGE ballroom filled up with Police Officers giving of their free time to participate in the program. I wish I had taken more pictures of Jacob walking up to different officers and asking for a sticker. :) Many, like Matt, were even coming straight from work!
After breakfast, the officers drove the kids to Walmart. The boys had so much fun riding in Matt's police truck! The most touching scene for me was while we were driving. We drove in a procession and it was so neat to see so many cop cars with their lights on in front of us and then to look back and see many more cop cars. It meant so much to me to know that Matt and other police officers were doing this for my children and so many others. It truly was amazing!
As I drove the boys home, I tried to talk to them about their many blessings. I explained what a huge event they had attended. So many people worked hard to bring cheer to their Christmas. I then asked the boys to think of a way to pay this kindness forward...
Thomas: "Jacob, who's the best?" Jacob: "Matt!" :)
Jacob did not want to get too close! ;)
Damond loved doing Ride Alongs with Officer Matt. I have no doubt Damond is right there with them!
As I reflect on today and my desire to be a Blue Hat Santa, I realized our year had been full of "blue hat Santas!"
I was pregnant with Jacob and sick, sick, sick! I spent most of the day lying down trying not to throw up. Damond had just finished first semester and was so excited to be able to spend time outside with his boys. They would play ALL DAY LONG! I was so grateful to finally have him home! Grateful he could finally help with the boys! But one day, tired of feeling SO crummy, I started to feel resentment that he spent ALL day outside without me. (I know, huge pity party! never said I was perfect!) Damond would come in periodically and tell me all about the neighbors, who they were, what they were like. During my pity party, I started to wonder why he spent all his time talking to the neighbors and not me? Me, the one who had been waiting a whole year to have my husband back. That night, tired of my pity party, I asked him.
His answer, "My number one reason for talking to the neighbors is for you and and the boys. I need to know that when I am not here, you guys are safe."
Well, Damond, I want you to know that, because of your ability to love everyone as your neighbor,the boys and I have been well taken care of this past year.
Your family and my family have taken care of us, not just because they love us, but because they love you! Our friends and family, and IU, have taken care of us all year long, but especially as they rallied behind the eventon March 9th. Your love, kindness, and friendship towards others has inspired so many to take care of us this past year.
Full of gratitude today for the blue hat Santas in our life, especially Damond!
Recently, I was driving in the car with my SIL. She was telling me about all of the awful things she had seen on the news and how it makes one not want to watch the news. But how, the news also, shared some "feel good stories." I asked what they were.
She began describing how a soldier came home from a tour and surprised his son on the football field by dressing up in the opposing teams jersey. As soon as the dad takes off his helmet, the kid begins to cry.
As my SIL is telling me this story, my mind is making up a mental image. Of course, my brain has no idea who the people in her story are so, it substitutes Thomas and Damond. I, of course, start crying. My heart wants more than anything for that to be true for my boys (and me). I can (and have) imagined the joy the boys would feel (will feel) to see their dad again.
My SIL started to apologize for sharing that story, but I told her it was ok. That is a beautiful story. We will just have to wait a lifetime to get our own special reunion.
On Thursday, we were driving home from school. Alex said, "mom! I had the best dream last night. This is what happened. I didn't know Dad was back alive, but you, me and Thomas were coming home from Mimi's house. We walked into the house and Jacob was with Dad. I ran to him and jumped up and gave him a big hug. I was so happy to see him. (long pause) But then Thomas woke me up" The smile in his voice as he told me this story broke my heart. I told him I was sorry that he had to wake up from such a dream. I know what that is like.
Friday Night, the boys were sorting their candy from a Trunk or Treat. Thomas said, " mom, if dad were alive I would give him these Reese's Pieces. Remember, they were his favorite?"
I replied, "yes, they were. That is so nice of you." As I walk away, I hear him say, "I know! For Christmas, I am going to ask Santa for my dad to come back. So, I will save these and give these to Dad later."
Everyday, I want more than anything to give the boys their own Hero Homecoming Surprise. Every night, I feel so guilty, because I didn't.
I found this other one, as I was searching for the one above. It hit closer to home, as the boy is closer to Thomas' age.
sometimes THIS(scroll to the bottom of the post for the video) video, seems like yesterday
other times, it feels like another life too painful to recognize.