Thursday, December 26, 2013

Daren's Letter - December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas Sweetheart:

You were with us this year, even if we couldn't see you or hold you.  You were with us on December 3rd, when I took my mountain man Christmas ornaments to your boys and a tree to hang them on.  They were your favorite ornaments, so I gave them to Vince and Crush to keep.  You were with us when we ate the meatloaf and mashed potatoes and settled down on the couch to watch television until the wee hours of the morning.  You were with us on Christmas Eve when your crazy family gathered together and ate too much, laughed enough, and remembered having you with us last year.  Last year you gave Crush a flannel jacket, so I bought him another this year and signed your name to it. 

You were with Vince and Rainee and her family on their Caribbean cruise.  The night before they left, Rainee dreamed of you.  In her dream you told her you and your dad were with them.  You told her to watch for the signs, so she did.  When they went to board the ship, right in front of them sat a large storage container.  In the upper left hand corner it read "CAT", the same emblem your dad always had on the caps he wore.  As they walked through the buffet line, it was announced "Someone just requested we play some Lynnrd Skynyrd.  One of your favorite songs was "Simple Man" by Lynnrd Skynyrd.  Then as Rainee looked up, the gentleman in line in front of her was wearing a tee shirt with the words "Born Free" across it.  Kid Rock's "Born Free" is your song.  I listened to it every time I went for my walks in Utah. 

So my darling boy, knowing you were with us...beside us made getting through this holiday season easier.  I know you are just a breath away although I can't see you, or hear you or touch you.  I know you are with your boys and with your siblings and with your mom. 

I posted on Mark's Facebook that I recalled the time I found you and Mark curled up sleeping behind the Christmas Tree.  You were bound and determined to catch Santa.  And the times you would send Haley out to see if Santa had came yet.  You knew the rule was "No one up until the street lights went out," so you would send her out to get in trouble.  I am so thankful for my memories, honey. 

Honey, it was my first Christmas without of the many firsts I'm about to experience without you, so to know you are beside us...with us made it bearable this year.  I love you so much and I miss you more than words can say, but you are here aren't you.  I can almost hear your laughter.

Sweet peace my darling boy.  Someday I will be with you and your dad again.

I love you forever, love you for always, forever and ever my baby you'll be.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Daren's Letter - November 18, 2013

Hello My Boy:

Sitting here in Alaska in the early morning, listening to the quiet and thinking of you.  I don't worry about you and hell honey.  I don't worry about it at all because I know God knows what kind of man laid behind the actions of addiction...a mighty fine one.  Remember when I wrote this poem for you?  I wrote it after one of our conversations; one of the times you called me your angel.

I was standing there at the judgment seat
watching as my life rolled past my view.
It was too late to change my ways
there was nothing left for me to do.
The path to the left led straight to Hell
and I knew my time had come.
I'd danced the dance, now came the time
to pay for what I'd done.
Then I heard a voice behind me;
one I knew so well.
It said "Let me take his place Lord.
Let me do his time in Hell."
"Let me do his time in hell Lord
He's my baby still you see.
How am I to know his failures 
are not the cause of me.
"He was perfect when you gave him.
Please wash him clean again.
Put his sins upon my shoulders.
'Cause I'd walk through hell for him.
"Please let me bear his burden.
Let me pay his toll.
Put his sins upon my shoulders
and let heaven keep his soul."
When I turned I saw her by my side
right where she'd always been.
Trying to teach me to do the right
but beside me when I caved in.
Her love was unconditional
although I did my part,
to throw her love back in her face
and trample on her heart.
I watched her tears begin to fall;
tears that I knew so well.
As she begged God to allow her
To do my time in hell.
I awoke to find the morning sun
I felt tears upon my face
and knew I had another day
to try to earn my Lord's good grace..
The first thing I did was called my mom
and heard the voice I knew so well.
I said "You needn't worry Mom,
Neither of us will go to hell.
The thing I didn't realize back then Honey was that you were already doing your time in hell; your hell on earth.  I only hope my darling boy, that I helped make your time there a little easier. 
I love you so much Daren.  Your leaving has left me empty.  Please Honey, let your presence be felt among those that you love, your family, friends, whoever.  Let them feel you when they pick up that joint, when they pour out the pills, when they fill up their glass, if they pick up a syringe or cut a line.  Whisper in their ears that its not worth it.  Ask whoever is there with you to help them so they won't do their time in hell on earth.
I love you honey.  Sweet peace my darling boy. Tell your dad I love him too.  I miss both of you more than I can say.










Pre Chorus:
I watched as her tears begin to fall,







I woke to the light of morning sun.

I felt the tears upon my face.
And knew I had another day

to gain my Lord’s own grace.

The first thing I did was called my Mom,

and heard the voice I knew so well.
I said “Don’t you worry Mama,

neither of us will do my time in Hell.”

Repeat Chorus:




Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Letter to Danny- November 13, 2013

Hello Honey:

Guess what?  I'm back in Alaska.  I flew in yesterday and as I walked out of the terminal headed towards baggage claim, I lost my breath.  The last time I made that walk, I was coming to pick up the pieces of my heart when Daren died.  The time before that, when I made that walk I was coming because you had left me. 

Two years ago today, I woke up thinking it would be a normal day.  I was at Mark's house getting things done so I could come home to you the next day. I didn't know that would be the day when my world would tumble down around me. 

We were watching Harry Potter; Mark, Dawna, the kids, and I, when the phone rang.  It was Haley telling me you had died.  I remember crumbling to the floor.  Then, I called the hospital and asked for the emergency room.  I was crying as I told them to put the phone up to your ear.  I needed to tell you that I loved you.  I heard them talking to you on the other end of the phone, telling you it was me on the phone.   I told you I loved you.  The nurse came back on the phone and told me she was sorry. 

Two years ago.  It seems like yesterday, and yet it seems like forever.  Time is so strange.  I remember you telling our kids that a year seems like such a long time when you look forward, but is just a twinkling of an eye when you look back on it. 

The old saying "Time heals all wounds," isn't really true.  Two years haven't healed me.  I'm just learning to deal with you not being with me.  You learn to don't heal.

I won't be sending up balloons today Honey.  I will do that on your birthday.  I will spend the day remembering you, our life together. 

You are with me all the time Honey.  When I wake, when I drive, when I write, when I clean, and right before I fall to sleep you are there; in my mind and in my heart.  You're with me when I look at the autumn leaves, when it rains, when the wind blows and today in Alaska when there is an ice storm.  The last ice storm I was a part of, I was with you; living in our little cedar house in Salcha, Alaska.  Schools and business had been shut down because of it, so you and I settled and kept warm and enjoyed just being together. 

I think if scientists could look into my heart, into my skin and into my soul, they would find part of your DNA there because you are such a part of me. 

I love you Honey.  Always have and always will.

Far Beyond the 12th of Never.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Daren's Letter - October 28, 2013

Hello Babe:

It's October here and with it came memories flooding in; memories of you my boy.  Twenty-eight days have slipped by and now it October is leaving. 

You had planned on being here this year.  You were going to go hunting elk up Dry Fork Canyon.  How I loved the times your dad and I shared with you up there.  How I have loved the times I shared with you everywhere.

Did you hear the song Mariah sang for you.  I shared it on Facebook.  You were so loved by so many honey. 

It's been over nine months and the emptiness is still inside me.  It's like a void is there that can't be filled up.  Like the best is in the past and I can't reach back and grab it and pull it up to now. 

Memories is a two sided sword.  In one way, when I drift back into them, the pain is so sharp, so real that I want to block them out.  Then in another, I'm mad at my brain that I'm not able to recall every single word, every action, every thought that had to do with you, so I could play it in my mind like a movie on a screen.  So I could have you with me again.

Yesterday, I pulled out my old camcorder and watched you and Mark on the trip you took to Canada and Arkansas hunting geese.  I watched and listened as you talked and laughed and acted up like you always seem to do when you get together.  Over and over and over again, you expressed how thrilled you were being there spending that time with your brother out in the country you both love so much.  But even being there doing what you loved so dearly, a time came when the demons ripped away at you.  They wouldn't let you be.  You left dinner and Mark found you passed out.  He took  you back to your room and got you settled into bed. 

What do I do honey?  What do I do to help you help others now?  I wrote your story and sent it up to Sheree's so Lindsay and Mariah could use it in their drug awareness program.  I can only do so much here honey.  I'm going to need your help.  I will keep trying to get your story out, and then you need to whisper into someone's ear that is in need of help; tell him/her to listen and to not be sucked into addiction as you were.  I will do my part honey, but I do need your help. 

When I think of heaven, I think of the very best that was here on earth, multiplied over and over again.  So, when it comes to you and your dad, I imagine you both are together on the very best elk hunt you could have ever imagined.  You have set up a wonderful camp with a tent that doesn't leak.  You have a campfire burning with a pot of coffee sitting over the coals.  You are probably with your Grandpa Don Whiting.  He always loved you so much.  You were his first Whiting grandson to carry on the Whiting name.  I can picture the three of you sitting there, enjoying the sounds of the night, the warmth of the fire, and the stars in the heavens.  Your Grandpa and Dad are telling you stories of their time on earth, of the people they loved, and the lessons they learned.  Of course, they will both tell you that you had a pretty great mom, and you will smile and tell them that I was your angel.  That's what you always said.    Now my darling son.  You are my angel. 

I love you honey.  Words can never express how much, or how much I miss you.  I absolutely hate not having any control. 

I'm going back to Alaska on the 12th of November.  I will be there to not celebrate your dad's death on the 13th.  I talked to Vince and he told me he was glad I was coming up.  I could fix Thanksgiving for everyone.  He told me I could give him an early Christmas present.  He wants me to copy my recipes into a recipe book for him.  Remember honey.  You wanted me to leave you my can that had all my recipe cards in it.  I told him he could go over to Shannon's and get the can, but he said he wanted me to rewrite them all.  A bossy boy you raised there.  So grandma will do it for him.

Well my boy, I feel better now I have written you.  The pain has become bearable again.  Give your dad a hug for me.  Tell him I love him with all my heart and miss him like crazy.  Give your grandpa a hug for me too.  He was a special person in my life.  Have you seen Grandma Sophia yet?  Did you apologize for the times when you and Mark were young and you would have Rainee go out of your room to tell Grandma Sophia you didn't like her.  Luckily, she didn't kill the messenger. 

Have you seen Aunt Mary and Uncle Ray?  Have they been coming home to find a sink full of trout the way they did when they were here?  You kept them in fresh fish. 

I know your Aunt Emy and Aunt Fran and Uncle Chris were happy to see you again.  They all thought you were pretty special.  You were. 

Honey, have you talked to my dad?  You probably know the answers to all the mysteries we had surrounding him.  Has he told you what his experiences were like here on earth.  Did he tell you he knew Baby Face Nelson and Al Capone?   Did he explain to you why he burned down those churches in Harco, Illinois and what the eight years in prison were like because he did.  You already know the answers to all the questions I've had for so many years.  Tell Daddy I remember the correct way to rake leaves just like he taught me.  Tell him I love him.

Well my darling boy, take care of everyone that I love there where you are, and I will take care of all you love here where I am. 

Until I get to feel your arms around me and hear you say "I love you, Mom" again, you will stay in my heart, my mind and my memories.

I love you honey.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Letter to Danny - September 18, 2013

Hi Honey:

It has happened.  Just like overnight it came; that soft golden hue that only comes with autumn.  How you loved this time of year.  You use to say that everything was better: your food tasted better, your home felt better, your clothes felt better once the dog days of summer gave way to the golden hue of autumn. 

The leaves are starting to change.  I noticed the red upon the mountains a few days ago and soon quaken asps will shed their leaves of green for those of yellow.  They were your favorite trees.  You would always say you could find a deer or elk hiding in their cover.  How you loved your hunts.  Hunting was your passion.  I remember telling my friend that if they took out licenses to hunt piss ants you would be the first in line. 

I remember the second year we were married and you were getting ready to go hunting with some of the guys that worked for you.  You asked me if I would see if I could find a coat for you; an orange one.  The weather was so cold that year.  We had a lot of snow as I set out in search of one that would keep my man warm.  Now, I laugh at what I brought home to you.  It was a very warm, very orange, very ugly, one-piece, orange cover-all.  It would have kept my man warm, but it would also had made him look like a giant orange marshmallow.  My heart was in the right place, just my hunting dress style was a bit off.  Needless to say, I had to return it.  Thank you for not making me feel then as silly as what I feel now. 

Being raised with just my mom, hunting was something we didn't do.  Until I married you, I had the Bambi Syndrome; thinking hunting as mean and cruel.  But when I married you, you showed me a man that loved to hunt, that respected the animals that he brought down, that was thankful for the meat that was put on our table.  I think in some past life, you were an American Indian; that was the type of love and respect you showed for the earth and the animals on it.  I learned to like to cook what you brought home...except for that goose. 

It was a beautiful bird as I prepared it with sage dressing.  It was only after I put it in the oven and the aroma drifted through the house that I started to vomit, and vomit, and vomit.  Of course, it wasn't really the bird itself that caused my distress.  It was the fact that I was pregnant with our second baby and morning sickness hit me with a vengeance.  I think the scent of roasting goose got into every fiber of our house.  I could smell it in our couch cushions, in the drapes, everywhere.  Of course, when a woman is pregnant, their sense of smell is so horrifically strong anyway.  After the goose was cooked (that's funny) you didn't even like the taste of it.  We had invited your dad over for dinner though and for a night of playing poker, and he loved it.  We sent it home with him and I never roasted another one.  There are two things, that after 47 years I still shudder about eating.  One is goose and the other is Dinty Moore Beef Stew. 

Remember our hunting trip out on the southwest desert the first year we were married.  We were hunting antelope and you fixed dinner over an open fire; dinner that consisted of a can of Dinty Moore Beef Stew.  I was pregnant with our first baby at that time and with one bite, I became so sick.  When I think of it, I can still smell the smoked taste of that stew and feel my stomach start to rumble. 

I miss those days honey.  I miss the days after when I wouldn't go with you hunting, but would stay at home with our babies while you went.  I enjoyed getting you ready to go.  I would plan your meals and purchase the food, and stock the trailer and watch you don your orange and take off.  While you were gone, I don't think I cooked a meal.  The kids and I would hit all the fast food joints in town until the night you came back home again. 

You were my life honey; you and our kids, and you still are.  Love doesn't die, does it.  It stays settled right in your heart.  As I sit here on my bed in the middle of the night, the love I had for you for all those years is still nestled inside me.  I'm learning to deal with my grief from losing you.  It doesn't go away, I just learn to deal with it.  It's boils and steams inside me until the pressure reaches the point that the tears come and I open my computer and write to you.  Then it is held at bay for a while longer.

I miss you honey and I will love you,

Far Beyond the 12th of Never.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Daren's Letter - August 28, 2013

Hi Honey:

I just went for my walk.  Were you with me as I listened to "Born Free" and "Dance with the Devil?"  Did you see me kiss my fingers and press them against the air in front of me as I said "I love you babe." 

I walked down by Bailey's Bend and the memories came flooding back.  I remember pulling up there with your dad in the dump truck, and seeing you and Mark working there.  I always fixed extra sandwiches when I made your dad's lunch, because I knew you would be so happy to get one of them.  You would usually raid a Pepsi out of our cooler too. 

You knew about the times I was disappointed when I knew you had been on drugs, but I don't think you really understood how tremendously happy you made me when I would know that you weren't.  God how I love you honey.  Oh how I miss you. 

I was remembering tonight how the day after your dad died and I flew back to Alaska, how you were there at the airport waiting for me.  You encircled me in your arms and just stood there holding me.  Thank you honey for all your hugs.  Thank you for loving me as your mom.  Thank you for liking my sandwiches and my Spanish rice.  It's so funny honey that now, at this time in my life, I am so happy I got to do those simple silly things.  I had hard boiled some eggs one day and showed up on the job with them peeled and in a ziplock baggie with salt and pepper on them.  You would have thought I'd fixed you pheasant under glass.  You appreciated those eggs so much. 

Remember how you teased me when I was backing out the snowy driveway at our Salcha house and then it was you that backed out and got stuck.  You were so mad.  I was laughing to myself. 

In my mind right now, you are wearing worn levis, dusty work boots, and your orange tee shirt with the Mark Whiting Construction insignia on it.  In my mind, you are still so handsome and so silly.  A lot of times, Mark will be kidding around, and when I look at him, I see the same silly expressions you used to get. 

Vinnie called the other day to get my checking account number so he could deposit money for his insurance.  He called me later to tell me it was there and that he had deposited a little extra so I could buy something for myself.  "Vinnie," I said.  "You don't need to do that."

"Grandma," he replied.  "Would you stop telling me what to do. Go buy yourself some diapers."

"You know, you sounded just like your dad," I said.

So I bought me a jacket that I had been needing and texted him to tell him what his money had gone for and to thank him again. He responded by texting "No problem, Granny. :)  My dad kinda pounded it into my head to make sure you come first.  So I try."

Honey, I don't expect anything from your boys...just their love.  But thank you for caring about me that much. 

I'll try to help them as much as I can without infringing on their "space".  I love them both so much.

I had to write to you tonight honey.  The pressure cooker I've told you about was building up steam, and writing you is the way I release the pain.

Wherever you are my beautiful son, know that someone here, sitting on her bed, loves you so very much and forever and ever my baby you'll be.

Love you Honey.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Wonderful, Scary Camping Trip

Once upon a time there were 12 little boys.  These little boys were very lucky indeed because they were all cousins.  There were the four year olds, Jessie and Austin; the three year olds, Cody, Beau, Vince, Trenton and Slaytor, the two year old Tucker, the one year olds Christian, Jackson, and McKade and then a none year old Tanner.

One day as they were playing at Grandpa and Grandma Whiting's house they had a wonderful idea.  They were going to have a camp-out!!!

"I know," said Trenton.  Let's have it at my house.  We have a big back yard and my daddy and mama won't care.

"Yeah!" said Slaytor.  "That will be fun!"

"Cody and Beau and I all have our very own sleeping bags," said Jessie, "and I can bring the new blanket off my mom's bed if someone else needs some covers."

"I can borrow my dad's sleeping bag," said Austin.  "It has blood on it from a bear my dad shot."

"Cool," said Slaytor with his eyes opened wide, "Where did he shoot it?"

"In his head," answered Austin proudly.

"I have my very own sleeping bag," Vince said.  "Grandpa and Grandma gave it to me for my birthday.  It has a Harvey David motorcycle on it,"

"Cool," Slaytor said excitedly.  "What's a Harvey David Motorcycle?"

"I don't know," Vince answered.  "He's somebody that my mom and dad likes."

The rest of the little boys just stood and listened.  They didn't talk very much.

The next Saturday afternoon, Trenton was playing in his back yard with his little brother Jackson when everyone started coming.

Jessie and Cody and Beau arrived with three sleeping bags and the brand new quilt from their mom's bed.  Jessie was wearing a large silver pan on his head.  Cody and Beau carried large sticks.

Right behind them was Slaytor.  He had his Ninja turtle sleeping bag under one arm and under the other he had a little cushion to his mom's new couch.  In his teeth he carried a plastic bucket.

Following Slaytor was Vince and Christian.  Vince had his Harvey David Motorcycle sleeping bag and a Barney sleeping bag for Christian.  Christian was holding a little flashlight and a handful of string. 

Austin and Tucker came next.  Austin carried a very large sleeping bag that had the stains from the bear smack dab on it.  Tucker carried his jacket and a candle and a smile from ear to ear.

McKade was the next to come.  He was carrying his trusty bottle and a blanket, and one shoe that had fallen off.

"Hi Guys!" Trenton yelled as he ran to meet them.  "You really did come."

"Trenton?" his mother called from the doorway.  "What is going on?"

"We're having a camp-out at our house," Trenton called back excitedly.

"Did daddy say it was okay?" his mother questioned.

"Nope.  Daddy doesn't know yet," Trenton replied.  "Isn't he going to be excited?"

"Oh, I'm sure he will," his mother answered.

The boys busied themselves making their incredible camping spot.  They decided that the very best place to sleep was underneath the trampoline.  Trenton pulled off the blankets from his bed and with the brand new quilt Jessie had brought they laid them over the trampoline until they touched the ground all the way around.  They didn't have anything to hold the blankets on top of the trampoline, so they all took off their shoes and laid them on the blankets to hold them in place.

It was getting dark, so they all climbed inside their huge tent and laid their sleeping bags and blankets out.  It was getting darker and darker.  Pretty soon it was so dark that they couldn't see each other.

"It's awfully dark in here," Vince said.

"Yeah," answered Austin. "I've got a good idea.  Tucker has a candle."

"That's not a good idea," said Jessie.  "We aren't allowed to use matches so we can't burn it."

"Oh yeah," replied Austin.

"Christian has a flashlight," Vince said excitedly.

"Good. Where is it?" asked Jessie.

"I don't know," Vince said.  "I can't see."

"Let's all feel around," said Slaytor.  "I bet we can find it if we just feel around for it."

All the little boys got down on their hands and knees and started feeling around for the flashlight.

"Ouch!" Slaytor screamed.  "Somebody just stepped on my fingers."

There was a loud "thud" as Cody and Beau bashed into each other's heads.

"Cody! Watch out where I'm going!" yelled Beau.

"You need to watch out where I'm going," yelled back Cody.

"You guys," Jessie piped in.  "How can you watch where you're going when you can't see?  Just look for the flashlight."

"I found it!" yelled Trenton.  Just then McKade began to cry.

"No you didn't," Austin said.  "That's McKade's bottle.  Give it back to him so he won't cry."

"Sorry 'Kade," Trenton said as he handed the bottle back to McKade who happily put it in his mouth and stopped crying.

"Here it is," Vince said as he turned on the little flashlight that made just the tiniest little glow.

"That doesn't make a very big light.  Does it?" Slaytor said looking a little bewildered.

"Everybody just get in your bed," Jessie said, now being in authority.

All the boys snuggled down in their beds as Vince turned out the little flashlight.

"Did you hear that?" whispered Trenton.

"What?" whispered Vince.

"Sh-h-h," Jessie said.

"I think it's a bear," Austin replied.

They could hear something moving around in the dark night.

"Let's go kill it," Slaytor said standing up and picking up one of the twin's sticks.  "Come on Jessie.  We'll follow you.  You go first."

"Why do I have to go first?" answered Jessie.

"Cause you're the oldest," Vince said.

"Oh.  All right then." Jessie picked up his silver pan and placed it on his head and then picked up the other stick of the twin's.  "Let's go kill it."

"Here," said Vince handing them the string that Christian had brought.  "If you can't kill it, we can tie it up."

"Here," said Trenton, picking up the pillow that Slaytor had brought.  "If he opens his mouth to eat us, we can shove this pillow in it."

"Good idea," Vince said.  "You're smart."

"Thanks," smiled Trenton.  Then we can fill Slaytor's bucket with water and drown him."

"They pushed back one of the blankets and sneaked out into the dark night each one holding on tight to the other.

"Ruff, ruff, ruff," Came a sound as a creature brushed up against their legs.  "Ruff, ruff, ruff."

"Run," screamed Jessie.

"Run!" yelled Slaytor.

"Run!" cried Austin.

"Run fast!" Yelled Trenton.

And run they did.  They ran so fast.  Trenton threw open the sliding glass doors that led into his front room.  In ran Jessie.  In ran Slaytor.  In ran Austin.  In ran Trenton.

Early the next morning, Trenton's mama walked into the front room to find the four boys laying on the couch, laying on the floor and laying in the reclining chair.

"What are you guys doing in here?" she asked.  "I thought you were sleeping out in your incredible camp."

"We had to come in," Trenton replied sleepily.

"Yeah," Slaytor said with a big yawn.  We had to come in."

"Yep," Austin said stretching out his arms.  "We had to come in."

"Why did you have to come in?" Trenton's mother asked puzzled.

"Cause the little boys were all scared," Jessie said as he turned over and faced the couch and fell back to sleep.

Trenton's mother walked out to the wonderful, scary camp and peeked inside.  There lay Cody and Beau, Jackson, McKade, Tucker and Christian' all sound asleep.  Trenton's dog Drake was sleeping nearby.

It had been a wonderful scary camping trip.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Daren's Letter- July 25, 2013

Hi Honey:

It's one of those "if only" days.  Our last conversation just keeps rolling around in my head.  You sounded so sad.  I should have stayed on the phone with you longer.  I should have helped talk you through what you were feeling.  That's what I usually did.  But not that day. Not January 19, 2013.  I heard the pain in your voice.  I told you to just come home.  You were suppose to be here in a week.  "Come home and go on your cruise with Rainee.  Your family is looking so forward to seeing you.' But then I had to include "Just come down and stay with your family.  Don't go around your friends that you've done drugs with."  I meant good honey.  I just wanted you to come down and be my son and their brother.  I just wanted you to enjoy being with us and not need your drugs.  Oh God honey how I wish I would have stayed on the phone longer with you.  How I wish we would have talked and talked and talked until we ran out of words.  How I wish I would have said all the right things to you.  But I didn't babe.  I chalked it up to the times before when you would start to come off your last dose of pills and then feel depressed because you had taken them.  It was more than that this time though wasn't it honey. 

I know you didn't intentionally overdose.  I know it was an accident.  How do I know this?  Because you never would have wanted to leave your sons.  You loved them too much to do something so intentional that their pain might never go away.  Your autopsy report states it was accidental.  I know that.  I think perhaps you didn't take anymore pills than you had taken before, but I think this time your body was just too weak to accept them.  Your body was just too tired, too worn. 

But maybe if I had talked to you more that night, you might not have taken that last dose that night.  I know my darling boy.  I know that it was inevitable that the day would come when you would take them and when your body would just say it was enough, too much.  But just one more day.  If I just had one more day with you.  How we take for granted a single day in our lives.  How we let one day go without appreciating all that is wrapped up in it.  Yes my boy, maybe the day was inevitable that you would take those pills but maybe it might not have been that day.  Maybe I would be sitting here this day and know you were in Alaska with your orange vest, your hard hat, and your work boots on.  One day.  How much is one day worth?  More than words can say.  For I would gladly sacrifice one of my own to have you hear with me right now. 

I love you honey.  I miss you so much.  I need to stop this though.  I need to wipe the tears off my face, blow my nose and pull myself together.  Sitting here and wanting something I will never have again is useless. 

I don't know how things work there where you are at.  But I don't want you to feel bad for me.  I don't want anything I feel to interrupt whatever it is you should be doing or feeling where you are at.

Just know that I love you with all my heart.  Someday I will feel your arms hug me the way you use to do.  I'll smell the scent of your cologne.  And whose to say?  I might even smell your cigarettes...Marlboro reds in a hard box. 

Go have a cup of coffee with that dad of yours.  Tell him I've written you and tell him I said to tell him I love him and miss him. 

"I'll love you forever.  I'll love you for always.  Forever and ever my baby you'll be."


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Daren's Letter - July 4, 2013

Hi Honey:

You know every time you read one of my letters, it's because I'm having a rough day and need to talk to you.  I talked to your picture sitting on my dresser and told you that I love you but it wasn't enough.  So here I am writing you. 

Remember when you and your siblings were young, I would write you my letters that you and your brother and sisters would later name "dreaded letters."  Dreaded because that would be my way of telling you I didn't approve of something you were doing.  I figured if I wrote you a letter, I wouldn't have to listen to excuses or rebuttals.  It worked then, but right now, this very minute, what I wouldn't give to hear one of your excuses or one of your rebuttals.  Oh God honey how I'm missing you.  This is my first 4th of July without you, and my first of not spending it with Vince and Christian. 

I called them, just to hear their voices.  They said they were planning on having a bar-b-gue there at the house, by themselves.  They were alone and it broke my heart because I know they were thinking of you too.  Their first without you. 

Remember our 4th of Julys when you were young?  We would always have a bar-b-que and then watch the fireworks.  I remember you and Mark climbing up on top of the house to get a better view.  We would set our own off in the street in front of our house and our little dog Poopsie loved them.  You guys would light them and as they were twirling around on the street, she would grab them in her mouth and take off with them.  By end of the night, she had seared whiskers, but she had fun searing them.  Then, it seemed like those times would last forever, but they didn't.  Did they Sweetheart? 

Oh so fast, you all grew into adults with families of your own.  At our Payson house, we would still have our bar-b-ques and the head count went from nine to thirty-nine.  God how I loved every minute of those times.  I wish I had bottled them and sit them on a shelf so today as I sit here on my bed writing this letter to you, I could open the bottle and enjoy them once again.  "If wishes were fishes we'd all have a fry," your Grandma Sophia used to say.  Or as your dad your dad would say "Wish in one hand and pee in the other and see which one fills up fastest."  He had such a way with words.  Tell him I am missing him today.

Two of my three men have slipped out of my life now.  Mark is left holding me together.  I don't think it has dawned on him that he is now the Patriarch of the family.  I'll have to remind him of that one day when I feel like being mean to him.  He misses you and your dad so much.  You guys shared a lot of things together; more than most dad and brothers do.  Not only were you family, but you were colleagues.  It wasn't easy working together.  Was it honey.  I know back in the days, Mark wouldn't have thought the day would come when he would be missing having his dad and brother around to talk work-talk.  But he does.  I know because he tells me so quite often.  If we all knew then what we know now.

Well my darling son, now that I've written you this letter, I feel better.  I know it may sound stupid to some that when I write these letters, I feel they go out into the universe and that you can grab them and read them.  How I wish you could write a letter there and send it out into the universe so I could grasp it and read it.  I wouldn't even care if it were a "dreaded letter" of yours telling me what I was doing wrong and that you were disappointed in me.  I would just like to pick it up, and know that you touched the paper and pen that wrote it.

I love you honey.  I know that if I didn't believe there would be a time and place that I will be with you and your dad again, I would go crazy.  It would be so unbearable to me.  So I will hold that thought close to my heart and believe that one day, I will feel your arms around me in one of your bear hugs and say "Hi Mom."  Until that day, please keep trying to place a message in my mind.  Please keep trying to break down the wall that I have built that keeps me from feeling your presence. 

"I'll love you for always.  I'll love you forever.  Forever and ever my baby you'll be."

Happy 4th of July Honey.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Letter to Danny - June 23, 2013

Hi Honey:

It has crept upon me again.  Just when I think I have myself under control, the pain hits and the only thing that makes it feel better is to write to you. 

Night before last, just as I was between the non sleep and sleep stage, I heard your voice.  You said one word "Susie".  I opened my eyes quickly and said "I hear you honey."  That was all there was.

For so many years honey, we were so blessed with not having accidents or illness fall upon our family.  Of course, we struggled with Daren's addiction and with the emotional illness that affects our family, but still, I knew my prayers each day were answered that God keep you and our children safe from illness, harm or accident.  But then I got the telephone call telling me I had lost you, and then fourteen months later got another telling me I had lost Daren.  It's as though the magic bubble that had surrounded us had shattered and the pain I had prayed so hard to evade, had found its way in.  And now Honey, as I've been forced to face the reality,  I'm afraid.  I don't know if I can handle another telephone call and yet, I'm afraid someday I will. 

I tell myself don't think about that Susie.  Don't ask for problems.  So I keep a book with me wherever I'm at and when the fear comes, I pick up a book and read to keep my mind off it.  Do you know how many books I have read since I lost you?  A whole bunch. 

I will continue my prayers for God to watch out over you, our children and our grandchildren.  That we all will be safe from harm or accident or illness and that we will all strive to do those things that would be pleasing to God.  Now though Honey, I will also pray that God will bless me that I will have peace that everything will be as its should be and that I will know that.  I know I have my band of angels around me Honey, but if you can, would you send yours to me also.  I can't wake up and be afraid each day.

I miss you so much and I miss our boy so much too. Tell him to listen to me.  Will you?  I want him to hear me tell him I love him.  I want him to see that as I drive along listening to Kid Rock sing "Born Free" I send him a kiss to let him know that I understand and that I love him beyond words.

Would you tell my mom hello for me?  Would you tell her to send me some of her strength?  It's funny Honey, but when I think of her, I still feel like her little girl.  Here I am a sixty seven year old woman, but when I think of my mom, I'm just her baby again. 

Well my love, I'm going to turn on my Kindle and read until I fall asleep.  When you get a minute, come sit on my bed by me and if by chance you see a time when my brain is quiet for a minute, talk to me again. 

Good Night Honey.  Tell Daren his mom misses him so much.

Far Beyond the 12th of Never.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Daren's Letter - June 9, 2013

And so my son, some days are better than others.  Some are worse.  I don't know why that is.  I've tried to sort it out in my mind and have yet to reach a conclusion.  When the pain comes; when I feel as though the knife has reached my heart and turned, I wonder why.  What was I thinking.  What was I smelling.  What was I hearing that changed how I felt so quickly.

Yesterday I was busy.  "Get up and get busy," your dad would say.  "It will make you feel better."  And I had been busy for the better part of the day, but then it crept in; the pain of missing you.  So I downloaded songs by Kid Rock and Lynard Skynyrd, burned them onto a CD, called Frodo to come with me and you and I went for a ride.  Did you notice the kiss I sent into the air when I played Kid Rock singing "Born Free."  Did you attempt to wipe the tears I couldn't hold back?

I talked to you.  I told you how much I love you.  I told you that this thing called life is full of lessons, some of which we all will pass and some we will fail and need to take the class over again.  Did you hear me tell you that you passed so many of your classes. 

Did you hear me say "I hope so," when I played Lynard Skynyrd's "Simple Man."  I had heard you said that song reminded you of me.  It tells of a mother that tries to teach her son what is really important in this life.  You learned much from someone honey.  You learned to be kind, compassionate, giving and loving.  I hope I played a part in those parts that made you, you. 

I tried to call Vince and Christian.  I just needed to hear their voices.  But they weren't by their phones.  I left them messages.  I told them how much I loved them, that I missed them, and I was proud of them. 

I don't understand this thing called grief.  I keep telling myself over and over that I am not the first nor will I be the last to lose someone I love so dearly.  And I know that Honey, but it doesn't matter.  After I've lectured myself and scolded myself using the part of my brain that is logical, the part of my heart that hurts says "But that knowledge doesn't make it any better."

So I sit on my bed and write this letter to you because when I do, I feel my words are going out into the universe and into your ears, into your heart.  When I write, I think you receive my letters.  It is no longer just words or thoughts whispered into the air.  It is words and thoughts written down, tangible, real.  As real as my love for you. 

So honey, I have my CD in my car.  It's labeled Susie's Songs, but it's not really mine.  They are your songs.  Songs that meant something to you.  Songs that you related to.  And because they are a part of you, they will be a part of me. 

I love you honey.  I do find comfort in knowing you are at peace now.  I know you no longer feel the pain your earthbound body was forced to endure.  If I close my eyes and listen close, I can almost hear your laughter echoing heaven.  I'll keep trying to hear it honey, because if I hear you laugh, then I will find some sense of joy in all that I do not understand.

Good night honey.

Sweet Peace my Boy.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Daren's Letter - May 25, 2013

So my darling, out of my need to know, I went to the medium.  When she asked what I would like to happen, I told her, I would like to talk to you.  She could have told me any number of things and I would not have known the difference but she was kind enough to tell me "Your son's energy level is very low.  I'm having a hard time getting through to him.  He's telling you "I'm so sorry, Mom."

Honey, I know that part of this thing we call life and death, comes a part where we need to account for our actions in this life.  All of do.  All of us will.  But oh Daren, I don't want you to be sorry for me.  I don't want you to feel guilt because of me.  You see my darling, handsome son, I know you.  I know you would never have done anything to intentionally hurt me.  Any pain I was caused, was caused by your addiction and not by your soul, not by my son.  You made me happy.  You made me laugh.  You made me feel secure.  You made me feel loved.  You don't need to feel guilt towards me honey.  But if in the scope of things I need to tell you I forgive you, then my boy, I forgive you.

"He's mentioning a white rabbit," the medium said.  "Do you know the significance of a white rabbit?"

Out of all of our 46 years together on this earth, you mentioned the white rabbit.  Why?  What is important about a white rabbit with a broken leg that you found tangled in a hedge and brought home to me.  You were on your way to elementary school, when you found it.  You brought it home and we took it to the vet and had its leg set.  I have pondered the last ten days as to why this was so important to you; or is it because it is important to me?

During my life, I hope that I have done good deeds.  I hope I have done many, but I'm not certain if any were done without some form of bitterness or complaint or "why me" attitude.  The only one I can think of now that you mention it, was the white rabbit.  It wasn't an inconvenience to take that white rabbit to the vet.  It wasn't an inconvenience to pay $75.00 to get its leg set.  It wasn't about me in anyway.  It was about the white rabbit. 

Were you trying to let me know that somewhere in my life, I did an unselfish deed, or were you trying to let me know how important it is to do unselfish acts.  Our white rabbit will no longer just be a memory to me, Sweetheart.  It will be a learning aid that I will try and use throughout the rest of my walk in this life.  From this day forward, the memory of the white rabbit will become the parable of the white rabbit. 

The medium didn't charge me for her intervention.  "You wanted to talk to your son, and I couldn't make that happen," she said. 

You weren't able to use your energy to speak with me, but you pulled as much energy as you could muster together to remind me of the white rabbit.  It must be so very important.

The medium said you were surrounded by spirits that were protecting you.  I don't understand what it is all about.  I won't pretend to.  I will take solace in knowing that wherever you are, there are those who love you enough to surround you with their love; to protect you as I would if I could be with you. 

I love you Dare.  I miss you more than words can say.  Thank you for bringing home the white rabbit; for enabling me to do something Christ-like.  "For if you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me."

Sweet Peace My Darling Son.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Daren's Letter - May 13, 2013

Hi Sweetheart:

You've been heavy on my mind the last few days.  Mother's Day was a little empty without getting your call.  I miss you honey.  I'm so glad I was chosen to be the one you would call Mom. 

My gosh Honey we walked a bumpy road.  Didn't we.  Looking back and with 20/20 hindsight, had God given me the chance to bow out of the problems that your addiction presented me, I would do it all again because of the man you were beneath the addiction.

There are times my darling that I feel guilty.  I know.  If you were here, you would tell me I have nothing to feel guilty about.  Your siblings will do the same.  But all the "what ifs" seem to creep into my mind.  What if...

When you moved to Alaska, I was so happy to see the pictures Haley and Jereme posted on Facebook.  Pictures that showed you and your boys with your fish you'd caught.  You put on weight and would joke that you were becoming a real "Whiting" because you had.  And the rest of us would joke that it was time you realized what carrying extra weight was all about and be able to empathize with the rest of us.  But you looked so wonderful in the pictures.  Gone was the gaunt, even though your being gaunt still left you so handsome.  But when you got to Alaska, you looked so healthy and happy and well.  And that presents one of my "what ifs".

It was after we moved there with you, you searched out your drugs again.  What if your Dad and I had not come to Alaska, had not moved in with you.  Did our presence unearth feelings that you had started to bury.  Was it a memory that we carried with us that would haunt you again.  I know my darling boy.  You are telling me "Stop it Mom."  But the truth is, your emotional foundation had been weak.  It had been for many years.  I guess you now know the complete truth.  Had we not moved to Alaska and moved in with you, would you have continued growing and holding your addiction at bay. 

I can't change anything now honey.  I can't change your dad dying.  I can't change it was you who found him and tried to resuscitate him.  I can't change a darn thing.  Oh God Honey.  Had it be in my power to do so, I would.  I would change so much.  "If wishes were fishes, we'd all have a fry, your grandma Sophia would say.  But I can't change a thing, so I just sit here with my regrets and wonder what if.

And so to preserve my own sanity, I will sit aside my "what ifs."  I will replace them with my memories.  I will remember my young tow-head little boy, my handsome grown son.  I will remember how much you loved me and how much I love you.  I will remember how you loved my Spanish rice, lemon jello, apple cake, potatoes and onions and everything else I cooked.  I will remember you telling me that you wanted me to bequeath to you my recipe box and you didn't want me to rewrite my apple cake recipe even though it was so worn it was hard to read in places.  I will remember your telephone calls asking my advice on anything from doing your laundry to a girl you were dating.  I remember you loved the smell of Gain laundry soap.  I will remember your words of wisdom you handed down to your sons.  "Wrap your hammer before you slam her."  That one is a classic along with your teaching Vinnie the secret to a good worker is "head down, ass up" because that is how a real hole was dug. 

I'll recall your taking me out to dinner at the Italian Restaurant on College Road and how you ate my pasta and I ate your beets. 

I'll remember how long it took you to shower.  (That you passed on to your sons.)  And how good you always smelled. 

I'll remember your quick wit.  And I will remember how much you loved your family.  I will remember your blue Chevy truck and hunting elk up Dry Fork Canyon.

I will be happy that everyone of our telephone calls were ended with you saying "I love you, Mom." and my saying "I love you."

I'll love you forever, I'll love you for always.  Forever and ever my baby you'll be.

I'm glad you have peace now my darling boy.


Monday, May 6, 2013

A Letter to Danny - May 6, 2013

Hi Honey:

It's one of those days.  I got up and got busy believing it would make me feel better, but guess what honey.  Some days that just doesn't work.  So I rely on what I've always relied writing and you. 

I went to your nephew's wedding reception on Saturday.  I signed the card Danny and Susie Whiting.  It will always be Danny and Susie Whiting, Honey.  You are still linked to me with a fine silver filament.  When I close my eyes, I can almost see it linking your soul with mine. 

It's springtime here.  The blossoms are out and green is taking over.  Rainee and I drove to Heber last week.  We went to the cemetery and I showed her where we will be laid to rest.  Unfortunately, my darling, you will not find rest until I am laid with you.  We are having our headstone set and Daren's also.  He will be next to us.  I knew in my heart Honey that is how it would be.  There would be you and our son and myself.  Although your urn sits on my dresser next to my bed, and although Daren's is in Alaska with his boys, we will go ahead and have the headstones set so our children will have a place to go when they want a place to place flowers or send off balloons or simply sit on the grass and talk to you and Daren.  Then when the day comes that I'm allowed to come to you, our children will bury us together.

I remember as a child, I was afraid of death.  The thought of the world coming to an end, was a constant threat to my mind.  With age, Honey and with love that is not the case anymore.  Now, it seems as though this place called life is so long; so long until I'm with you again. 

I had a talk with Mark the other day.  I told him, "Honey, I think when your dad passed away, you and I were thinking with our emotions instead of with our minds.  At the time your dad left, what would you have thought had I came to you and said 'What do you think of my living with you for the next fourteen years?  For it might be I live that long.'  At the time, I don't think you and I were thinking of what we were setting you and your family up for.  Honey, my living with you and your family is not set in stone.  I can make other arrangements."

And our son told me I thought too much.  He told me it wouldn't have mattered had I told him that or not that I would still be welcomed in his home.  How blessed I am to have such a son here with me. 

Then my darling I remember my last conversation with you.  I told you when I got back to Alaska from Utah, I would find us our own place to live.  I worried we were taking too much of an advantage with Daren.  You told me on our last talk, "Don't worry.  A lot of things can happen between now and then."  Did you somehow know you wouldn't be there when I returned home.  Did you somehow know that in a short year later, Daren would not be there either? 

Perhaps Mark is right.  Perhaps I do think too much.  I've always liked having things in order and perhaps what I've learned is that "my order" might not be God's. 

So for now my love, I am going to take things a day at a time.  I don't know what will come to be tomorrow or next month or next year.  I really have no control after all.  The river of life continues to flow.  Sometimes I float in a gentle current, softly and smoothly and then, I hit the white caps and all I can do is hold on tight, pray and try to keep my faith.  I am thankful I have had you and our children to keep me in the raft.

I miss you Honey.  If you were here today, we would get in the car, stop and get a Pepsi and go for a drive up the canyon.  We wouldn't go fast.  We would pull to the side of the road and let those in a hurry pass us by and then continue as I would hear you say, "They are in such a hurry, they don't see anything."  And it would be true, for it would be you that spotted the deer, or elk or woodchucks.  You would see a dried tree stump and picture what you would be able to chainsaw carve out of it.  We would find a place to pull over and roll down the windows and smell the pine or sage.  Now that you are gone Honey, I try to make a point to look at life the way you did.  I try not to hurry so quickly I miss what is going on around me. 

Friday, Mark said he wished he had you and Daren to talk to.  He wanted to talk to you and Dare about the work he had lined up.  I recognize how hard it is on him not to have you and Daren around.  When push came to shove, he always knew he had his dad and brother at his back. 

Thank you Honey for listening to me.  You've done a lot of that in our lifetimes haven't you?  I miss you honey and I love you with all my heart.

Far Beyond the 12th of Never.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Letter to Danny - April 16, 2013

Hi Honey:

Everyone has gone to bed as I sit here thinking about you.  I haven't felt well the last few days, and not feeling well reminds me of you.  It's funny all the things that make me think of you.

When you were with me and I didn't feel well you would say "Can I get you anything?" and I would say "No.  I'm fine." 

Then you would say "Why is it you can always get things for me when I don't feel good, but I can never get anything for you?"  I tried to explain honey, that as a girl growing up, my mom had to work during the days.  In my teenage years, it was just she and I at home, so if I wasn't feeling good, I had to get for myself because there was no one else there.  Now as I sit here, I realize that perhaps I made you feel I didn't need you and Honey that is so far from the truth. 

Knowing that you slept beside me brought me comfort.  Knowing you were there if I really needed you, brought me peace. 

Some might find it hard to believe that the sound of your snoring was such a good sound to me.  For so many years when we were younger, you struggled sleeping at night.  So when we got older and I would hear you snoring, it was like music to me.  I knew you were resting and so I could too.

Tonight, my love, how I wish you were here with me.  If you would ask me if I needed anything, I would find a list.  But since you can't be with me, I will write this letter to you.  Because when I write to you, I am with you again.  Talking to you as if you sat beside me.  Cry knowing that you would wipe my tears.

When I lost you Honey, I knew you were gone.  But with Daren, I can't wrap my mind around his leaving. 

With you, it seems I cried for weeks, missing you so bad.  With Daren, it's like so often I refuse to believe he's not here so I don't cry, until the tears build up to over-flowing.  Honey, is it because a child is not suppose to go before his mom? 

The only comfort I have Honey, is knowing he is there with you and you are there with him.  But then my love, you have always been there for him. 

So as I sit here tonight with my medicine beside me, should I by chance here you whisper "Can I do something for you?"  I would say "Yes, Honey.  Keep taking care of our boy for me.  Keep knowing how very much I love you and tell him that his mom loves him so much.  Find time to stay beside me and if by chance you can, let me know you are here.  When I fall to sleep tonight, let me hear you snore in my dreams."

I love you Honey with all my heart and I will

Far Beyond the 12th of Never.


WWAPSWAKGBTOWOT (Written with a pen.  Sealed with a kiss.  God bless the one who opens this.)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Daren's Letter - April 8, 2013

Hi Honey:

I sat in the dark last night, with my computer on my lap, looking at your picture.  It was your eyes that kept me drawn in.  I felt perhaps if I looked in them long enough and hard enough, I would see you smile at me, that perhaps you wouldn't be gone.

I do that sometimes honey.  I guess its self preservation, or something.  I think in my mind "He's not really dead.  He's just at home." And then the reality shines through and I know you're not home; not in Alaska anyway.  With that realization comes the pain and when it strikes, I pick up my Kindle and I start to read.  A few nights ago, I read an entire book throughout the night to ward off the hurt.  So I read, and while I read my mind doesn't let me remember you and your dad are gone.  Then, it all builds up, like a pressure cooker that has reached the point where if steam isn't released, it will blow apart.  The tears start, and my heart breaks.

"Get hold of yourself," I tell myself.  "Do you think you're the only one who's lost ones they love?  It happens everyday.  It has happened since the beginning of time and it will happen until time as we know it ends.  You shouldn't be causing your children to worry about you.  That's not right for you to do."

"I know," I tell myself.  "That's why I wait until it's dark; when they are all asleep." 

"You really think they don't know?  You think they don't see the difference?  You're an adult, Susie.  You need to pull yourself together.  You know what Danny would say 'Get up and get busy.  It will make you feel better'.  Do what you need to do for yourself to pull yourself together."

So I listen to myself be chastised by myself then reach over and pick up my Kindle.

I know I'll make it through this.  I will for your sons and for your siblings.  I don't know how long it's going to take.  I need to stop being wrapped up in me, for I know if someone is wrapped up in themselves, they make a very small package.

So I sit down at my computer and I write.  I write letters to you or to your dad, for right now, I can't seem to write anything else, and for me, writing is my coping mechanism. 

I love you honey.  I miss you so much.  I miss your dad so much.  Life seems so long today.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Letter to Danny - April 2, 2013

Hi Honey:

I was just sitting here thinking.  You know me, I do a lot of thinking.  My thoughts took me into the past, as it's where the most important part of my life lies now.  I thought about boyfriends I had when I was young.  I had a few.  There was Alan Staker, David Broadbent, Jimmy Hout, Larry Hansen, Mickey Merchant and a few others.  They were the stepping stones, leading me to you.  For you see Honey, I had a few boyfriends, but I only had one love.  My one love of my life was you.  Boyfriends and "The love of your life" are as different as night and day.  The love of your life is the one you cannot fathom being without, the one who not only holds your heart, but also a part of your soul.

Times have changed since you and I were young.  Now, in this day, living together is the norm.  Marriage has been put on the back burner.  It's not for me to judge it this is right or wrong, but if I could tell our children or grandchildren anything I have learned in this life, it would be this. 

"If you make the decision to live with someone, be as committed to that person as if you had a marriage certificate tucked away in a cedar smelling chest.  If you are choosing to live with someone, make certain that person is the kind of person you would want to share your entire life with.  Please don't use "living together" as a means to having a back door, an escape route when things get tough or when angers flare, or when problems of life arise that needs to be worked out.  Make certain the person you are choosing to live with is the type of person you would want to be the parent to your children, grandparent to your grandchildren.  For you see.  Falling in love is a temporary insanity.  It is after that temporary insanity wears off, that true love sets in.  True love is the kind of love that will see you both through whatever life throws at you.  True love means you will stand by this person and he/she will stand by you for better or worse, through sickness or through health, rather you are rich or poor.  That you will stick by that person when age creeps around the corner, robbing him/her of youth, beauty, grace.  That when the skin has wrinkled and gravity takes control, and perhaps when the mind is lost to the past, when health requires a wheel chair or feeding tubes, you will look at that person and still see the love of your life.  If the person you are with is not the one that you would commit yourself wholly too, then perhaps it is not wise to live together.  Perhaps it would be the wiser to wait for the one you would be willing to marry rather you married them or not."

As for me my darling, I would rather have had one true love, one love of my life, that to have a hundred substitutes. And that I had in you.

You know how many times I think of you throughout the day.  You can hear me say "I love you, Danny" as I'm doing the dishes, or folding clothes, or driving in the car.  Sometimes without even thinking, those words escape my mouth.  I know then that you are so imbedded in my being, so deeply a part of me, that telling you I love you is as much a part of me as breathing.

I love you Honey, and will

Far beyond the 12th of Never.


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Daren's Letter - March 31, 2013

Happy Easter my darling boy.

Do you have any idea how much I am going to miss you today.  If you get a chance, keep watch.  I am making the lemon Jello you liked so much with ham.  Remember.  You made it for Thanksgiving.  Although I walked you through the recipe, step by step via telephone from Utah, you said you managed it into tasting like lemon rubber bands.  Well keep watch today honey.  I'm certain you will notice the two or three steps you forgot last November.

How I miss your way with words.  I'm certain if you could tell us about the day you died, you would say you were "Hi Fiving the hand of God." 

I will think today about the last time you shared in the Egg-mazing race with me here in Alaska.  After finding one of the clues, it told you to head back to Haley's house.  When you all got there, you had to participate in a relay race where you would run from point "A" to point "B" while jumping through a hula hoop.  Watching you manipulate your 6'3" frame through that hula hoop was truly amazing (and pretty darn funny).  And I can still picture you in the game where you had to put a pair of panty hose on your head which had a ball in the end of one toe.  By sheer talent of swinging your head, you had to knock over some plastic bowling pins.  I close my eyes and I can see you (and hear you).  The memory makes me laugh...and then cry. 

I love you my darling boy and I miss you more than any of my words could say. 

Your boys are coming over the Shannon's today.  We will be having the race again and they will be filled with good food and good fun.  We will take care of them, this first Easter without you.

You must know already how very much you are loved by all of us and missed so dearly.  You were such an important cog of our family wheel.  Now you are gone, the wheel doesn't roll quite right anymore.  Our family rolls on through life, but the journey is harder, not so smooth without you. 

Come and be with us today.  Let your boys feel your presence in the truck as they head out looking for the hidden clues.  Let them hear you cheering for them as they make their ways through the obstacle courses.  Sit next to them as they share the family dinner of ham, potato salad, lemon Jello and the rest of the trimmings.  Help them to be happy honey.  Help them to be safe.  Help inspire them from where you are to do those things that are good and right and will help make for them, happy and successful lives. 

And if you get a chance, let me here you whisper "I love you Mom." 

For I love you, Daren.


A Letter to Danny - March 31, 2013

Happy Easter Honey:

Your potato salad is done; just the way you like it, just the way I've made it for 49 years.  A ham you would be proud of is in the oven and yes we will be doing the Egg-mazing Race this year.  Your bunch of loons will be playing their parts.

You know my love, how much I miss you.

Remember when we started our Egg-mazing Race.  Our kids were teenagers and too old for the Easter Bunny so we came up with a "scavenger hunt".  We hid eggs all around Provo.  With clues in hand, the kids jumped in their cars and as teams and set off to find the eggs.  The first ones back won the grand Easter basket filled with treats and theater tickets.  Susan was twenty-one then.  She was forty-four at the last one we held in Utah.  She was driving "her team" as they headed out to the Mona Reservoir to collect that clue.  Everyone was passing her as she went as fast as her "ill" car would take her.  The others all pulled down the road that led to the clue and as Susan pulled up behind them, she parked straddle the road so they couldn't get out.  What she didn't have in cars, she had in brains. 

When they finished the auto part of the race, they made it back to the house where each team needed a member to dress in the Easter Bunny costume.  They donned their white long handle underwear with the net bath sponge pinned on as a tail, and their bunny ears affixed.  They had to hop down under the little hill into the pasture where their team mates would throw them eggs.  They had to catch three eggs, put the eggs in their baskets and hop back to the house.  What they didn't know was the eggs were raw. 

All of our kids were always such good sports.  It didn't matter how silly we made things, they always joined in.  I don't think they realized then, what these memoires would mean to me years down the road. 

And now, our grandchildren are all grown too except for one.  We will no longer be hiding 600 eggs in your hay fields for them to find like we did at our Payson house; riding around on your four wheeler covering the five eight acres.  Because they are now young adults and teenagers they will continue the tradition with choosing up teams, jumping in their cars and searching Fairbanks for clues.  There will be a void created by not having our Utah and Idaho kids here, but most of all by my not having you and Daren here. 

But you will be here in my heart honey.  You are here in my memories.  How thankful I am to have them.

Throughout the day, I will think of you; think of you both.  I will feel the pain of my loss, but I will be thankful that through the spirit of this holiday, I know that sometime, someplace, somewhere, I will be with you again.

Be with me today honey.  Be with me and watch your loons.

I love you.

Far Beyond the 12th of Never.


Friday, March 29, 2013

Daren's Letter - March 29, 2013

Hi Babe:

"You've just gotta empty your mind, Mom.  Just let it happen."

These were words you told me when your dad passed away and I couldn't dream of him or feel him near me.  You kept assuring me he was around, and I kept telling you I couldn't feel him. 

"Look for him in a dream."  You told me.

Well my dear boy, I dreamed of you.  I dreamed I was on the telephone talking to someone.  I was telling them I had lost you and I was sobbing.  I was so hurt.  Then I heard you say "Hi Mom."

"Daren just talked to me!  I heard him on the phone!  It was him!" I said to someone in my dream as I clutched the phone to my heart.

"Mom.  I'm right here." You said and I looked up to see you standing in front of me.  You were thinner and younger and as I approached you, I was afraid if I touched you, you would fade.  But I reached out and touched your face and then put my arms around you.  You hugged me back.

"I miss you honey," I said.  "I love you so much."

"I love you too, Mom." You replied holding me.

"Come with me," I said and we walked into another room where your dad waited.  He looked up like he was looking into a bright light, shielding his eyes with his hand over his eyes.  "Look honey.  It's Daren," I said as he walked over to you and placed his hand on your head.

We walked out into the other room, and there were two people waiting for you.  I only recall the man having a small moustache.  The lady however was beautiful.  She had on green pants and a lighter green shirt.  Her hair was dark and had a beautiful sheen to it.  It was turned under like hairstyles of the 1940's.  Her complexion was beautiful and her lips were red.  "We need to go," she said.

"You know he's a very good man," I said to them.  And she said "We know.  We only take the good ones."

Immediately, I woke up and looked at the clock.  It was 4:58 in the morning. 

I seldom dream honey, and when I do, I usually don't remember them.  You know that.  The fact that I recall so much detail of this one makes me believe that perhaps, it wasn't just a dream. 

I love you so much honey.  I can't begin to tell you how much I miss you.  Thank you for the hug and the words.

Forever Honey.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Daren's Letter - March 24, 2013

Good Morning Honey: 

So I said my prayers and asked my God to protect my family.  All of you.  I can't exclude you and your dad just because I can't see you, so you are still in my prayers.  As always, I pray that you all will be protected; held safe, and well in the hollow of His hand.  Then I pray that our actions will be those that are pleasing to Him, that we all will do things that are of good report, things that would be pleasing before Him. 

This has been my prayer everyday for as long as I can remember and I have known God has heard me and for the most part, granted my request.  Losing your dad and then you caused my faith to stumble for a while.  "Why me?"  I asked the darkness of my mind. But then I realized that if I had to ask why when times were dark, I would also need to ask why when times were bright and beautiful that had been most of my life.  Why had I been so blessed to be born of good parents into a home of loving siblings.  Why had I been blessed to fall in love with the love of my life, and have him love me for fifty years.  Why had I been blessed to give birth to seven children that I would adore and cherish.  Why would I be blessed with good friends who would love and support me throughout my life.  The "whys" of life cannot only be asked when the storm clouds gather.  They need to be asked when the sun is shining and the rainbow dips towards the earth, when a lazy breeze kisses your cheek on a hot summers day.  When you hear a child's laughter, the bubbling of a stream, or the soft sound of quietness.  So I will try to understand the "dark" whys while I embrace the good ones.

But even with my accepting, my darling boy, it doesn't mean my heart will not ache, that I will not be lonely, and missing.  That is something I cannot seem to prevent.  I look out my window here in Alaska and watch the steam rise from the exhausts.  I see the snow piled on the buildings and the frost painted on the windowsills.  For an instant I smell your cologne or the scent of your cigarettes. How I long to hear your steps come to the door, have it open and have you ask me if I have an extra cup of coffee.  How I miss having you step in at dinner time and say "God, that smells good."

I've pretty much accomplished what I came back to Alaska to do.  I've helped Vince and Christian get your death benefits set up for Christian.  We changed phone service so it will be less expensive for them.  We got Vince's income taxes filed and your retirement and insurances applied for.  They have fuel enough to get them to spring.  We filed for your Permanent Fund and for their's too.  When you died, I could hear you say to me "Mom, would you help my boys get things straightened out?"  and I told you, yes I would.  And while I was helping them, it was like I was helping you still.  Like so many times I did before, but like I will not be doing again.  Your needing me is no more. 

I look at the snow, at the exhaust floating in the air, at the frost painting the windows and I think "I can't do Alaska anymore.  Not right now anyway.  Losing you and your dad here makes me feel like my chest is in a vise.  Like I can't breathe.  I am so lonely even with everyone around.  I know it will change.  I know I will.  I know it will take time.

I asked Vince if he would be okay and he told me he would.  I told him if he needed anything to remember his Aunt Haley and Aunt Shannon were here for him and he said "I know that,Grandma.  But Christian and I need to learn to take care of ourselves.  We need to be self sufficient."

"Just promise me one thing, honey," I told him.  "If you open your fridge and find no food, or if you turn on your heat and find none there, please remember you have people who will help you."

And he said "I know Grandma.  I'll always have family."

So I'm going to freight your dad's welder and the boring tool back down to Utah.  Mark needs them both. 

Then I will say goodbye to Alaska for a while.  Just until the memories can fade a little.  I'm not needed here anymore in any great sense.  Instead, I will go back to Utah where Mark can use my help with his books, where I can help Lola with Jeri, and where I can help Sheree get back on her feet again. 

I will go back to the old memories.  Memories where the pain has been muted by time.  Where they bring more smiles than tears.  And I will pretend.  I will pretend that you are just three thousand miles away in Alaska.

Do you know how much this woman loves you?  Do you have any idea how much you mean to me?  I hope so honey.  When you look back on your life...when you judge yourself...don't be too harsh.  You have given so much joy.

I love you, babe.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Daren's Song "Dance with the Devil"

For all of my readers, you have probably already read the story of my son; Daren's Story.  Below is a link to Daren's Song "Dance with the Devil".  I wrote the lyrics to this song once when Daren had told me he danced with the devil everyday.  This was said regarding his struggle with his addiction to opiates. 

Tyler York, family friend and brother-in-law to my daughter Haley, wrote the music and recorded it.  My daughter Haley paid for the recording costs, so it is a family project that has our heart and soul wrapped up in it. 

Please take a minute to listen and to share.  We will have it available to download in the very near future.  Thank you for your support.

I love you Daren.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Letter to Danny - March 19, 2013

Hello Honey:

I think a long time ago in the pre-existence, you made the decision to leave this earth before our son did.  I don't know for certain if it was to be there to meet him, or if it was because you knew I would find comfort in knowing you and he are together. 

Did you know honey that over the past month and a half, I have found such comfort in you.  I know that I can't see you or hear you, but I know as certainly as I breathe that you are still such a part of me.  Perhaps its because there is still a silver thread, a fine transluscent filament that is unseen by human eyes, that connects my heart with yours. 

I can hear you whisper words of love at one moment and then hear you tell me to get up and get busy, that it will make me feel better the next. 

Did you know honey?  Could you have imagined that when you were here giving out usually unwelcomed bits of wisdom to us; me and your children, that when you would leave this rhelm, that wisdom would see us through some pretty difficult times. 

"Awareness to life is the secret to life," you would tell us.  I would smile knowing that if that were true, you should be able to know where you had laid your glasses or your Copenhagen.  But with those words of yours ringing in my head, I find myself looking closer at this thing called life.  I try to notice the geese on wing, or the color of the sky.  I look closer at the faces I meet and the places I go all because of you. 

At night when I miss you and Daren so much, I hear you tell me to get some sleep that things will look better in the morning.  Last night as I turned off my light, I hope you heard me whisper "I'm so glad Danny loved me."

Every day, I pray to my God and I talk to you, confident that my prayers and talks are heard by you both.  With this knowledge, I find the strength I need.

No one knows me like you do honey.  No one except you truly knows my strengths, my weaknesses, my insecurities, and my flaws.  And because you know me so well, you know that writing is my escape.  So when life feels like its closing in on me, I write.  So I write to you, because in my writing I can tell you how I feel and then I can let what I feel escape and fade into the universe. 

So when I write how much I love and miss you and let it release into the air, capture my words and feelings.  Place them in the pocket of your shirt and carry them with you.

I love you Danny and I will

Far Beyond the 12th of Never.