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.