Saturday, December 27, 2008

"No Empty Chairs"

Christmas eve night we always have a nice dinner usually at my parents house. Last year we were up north for a niece's wedding and planned on staying and driving home Christmas eve night if the weather was good. Well, the weather didn't cooperate so we ended up going home a few days before Christmas eve. We had our first Christmas with just our little family last year. Little did I know it would be our only Christmas with Wyatt. I'm grateful we had that time together. I made name tags last year to go on the table. We planned out all the fun things we were going to do that night and it ended up being a very nice Christmas.

Well, this year we planned on going up north if the weather would be good for us to drive home Christmas eve night again but that didn't work out so we did our own dinner and activities again at home this year.

While I was decorating for Christmas a few weeks ago I came across our name tags that I had made last year. I flipped through them to find Wyatt's name. I thought at the time, what am I going to do with this? Do I throw it away--instant thought-NO. Then what do I do with it? I had spent some time thinking about it and I decided I would just put his name tag on the table.

As I was thinking about setting the table and where I was going to put Wyatt's name tag I had the feeling that I needed to set a place for him. I know that might sound weird but I've learned that I need to go with my gut feelings because usually there turns out to be some sort of meaning to it. So, I set a place for him.

As I was looking over at the table a little while later I noticed he didn't have a chair at his spot. I thought maybe I should go get a chair to put there and the instant thought came to me--No, he is already in his chair. He has made it to the celestial kingdom and he is waiting for each of us to fill our chairs. It went right along with our family motto of "No Empty Chairs." Even though there is an empty spot at our table this year we have the hope that we will be an eternal family and there will be a day when our table is full and EVERY chair is filled. Wyatt has filled his chair.

We were able to spend a few minutes during dinner talking about this and the symbolism on why he didn't have a chair at the table. We were able to enforce how important it is that we do our very best so that we can fill our chairs along side Wyatt's. It turned out being a very spiritual and special moment. I'm so grateful that we had already for years talked about our family motto of "No Empty Chairs" because I think it was to prepare us for this year. Our focus in life has now changed somewhat. I feel we have always been focused on those things that will lead us to the celestial kingdom but now that we actually have someone there waiting for us. It gives us even more motivation to do what we know we need to do so we can all be back home together. Here is that quote again by President Ezra T. Benson:

"God intended the family to be eternal. With all my soul, I testify to the
truth of that declaration. May he bless us to strengthen our homes and the lives
of each family member so that in due time we can report to our Heavenly Father
in His celestial home that we are all there--father, mother, sister, brother,
all who hold each other dear. Each chair is filled. We are all back home."


Christmas 2008

After our Christmas eve dinner we did our traditional hide the almond in ice cream. Tyler was the grand prize winner this year. Last year Wyatt was the grand prize winner which I think was very appropriate since it was his last and only Christmas with us. We bought diapers with his winnings last year. After the almond dessert activity we decorated a gingerbread house. Hayley especially enjoyed it and we had to tear her away from it.

We then watched Luke II. We usually act out the nativity but I just couldn't do it this year. Last year Wyatt was baby Jesus. It was just too hard this year. After Luke II Derek talked to us about the "No Empty Chairs" and few other very wonderful things and then we got out Wyatt's "No Empty Chairs" box that we did for his birthday. We opened it and recommitted ourselves again to giving him those presents. The spirit was very strong and I felt great peace.I had bought some battery operated candles that we took over to Wyatt's grave. It was a sweet tender mercy for us because it was snowing--it was absolutely beautiful and extra special since that doesn't happen very often here. We sang silent night and placed our candles on his grave. There were a few tears shed. It was a very special moment. Then each of the kids put a small toy on his grave. Tyler commented on how much Wyatt would have enjoyed playing with them. Those are some of the hardest moments. It was neat to look back and see his grave all lite up--it looked like it was on fire. I wish I would have brought my camera.
We then went home and the kids opened their traditional Christmas eve pajama's. Hayley flat out told me that she didn't want pajamas. I think she was expecting something more fun but she ended up putting them on and enjoying that she matched with her sister. The kids then opened up their gifts from each other. They then wanted to go to bed so they could start the kid party that they had been planning all day. It ended up being a very nice and very spiritual night for us.
Christmas morning I woke up around 4am and the grief hit me. I went into the family room and watched Wyatt's video. I just needed some time remembering him. I got out a lot of tears. Shortly after that the kids woke up and the excitement began. I love the excitement and joy that comes from opening each gift. Derek gave me the painting that I talked about on an earlier post by Greg Olsen. It's the one that I think looks like Wyatt right before he died. I started crying of course. I then looked on the back and Greg Olsen had signed it and left us a sweet and wonderful message. It was the perfect gift.

I gave Derek a book that I had put together of Wyatt's short life. It will go in Wyatt's room for those moments when we want to remember our sweet little boy. I also got a gift for the whole family from Wyatt. I think this will be a tradition each year. It will be a gift that we can enjoy together as a family. This year it was a church game. Hopefully it will give us moments of spending time together and building those relationships so that they will last forever.
My parents retired the part of the star from their nativity play and dedicated it to Wyatt. Wyatt will always have the part of the star each year. When I heard that they had done that I began to cry. It touches my heart whenever anyone thinks of our little boy and to know that he will be remembered every year is a sweet tender mercy for me.
We had a nice and peaceful Christmas with moments of laughter and moments of tears. I felt an added sense of peace and comfort that comes from answers to prayers. Thank you to so many for praying for us. Because Jesus Christ was born, lived and died and then was resurrected we can be an eternal family. How grateful I am more than ever for him especially this Christmas season.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


My heart is overflowing with gratitude and I'm not sure how to express it fully. Thank you to so many people that have given us ornaments for Wyatt's tree. They are absolutely perfect. Each and everyone holds a special place in our hearts. I know so much thought and love went into each one and that means the world to us. They will be forever cherished. I feel such love flowing from his tree as I look at each ornament. It truly is a "TREE OF LOVE." Gratitude will fill our hearts each year as we dress Wyatt's tree and think of all the wonderful people that have helped us through one of the hardest years. How can we possible express our deep feelings of thankfulness for the kindnesses that so many have shown to us? I really don't know. So, please accept these words and know that we love each and everyone of you and are grateful you would share a part of yourselves with us and help make Wyatt's tree that much more special.

Last Week

The Christmas display at the Bellagio

I actually had an OK week last week. I guess I needed that so I could get all the things done that I needed to. I'm grateful for those moments when the grief lifts for a while. I feel like the snow we received last week was a tender mercy. We don't get snow here usually so to have it come and actually stay for a while was a tender mercy for me. It helped me get into the Christmas spirit so I could create some memories for my kids. The kids even had a day off from school because of the snow. We spent time making snow men, having snow ball fights and Derek and I took a walk at night in the winter wonderland. I enjoyed watching the snow flakes fall to the ground. I'm enjoying these simple things of life more than ever. It was a neat few days with the fireplace going and Christmas music playing and kids enjoying the beautiful snow. Which before this time was a hard thing for me to do.
We then went to Las Vegas for the Las Vegas bowl that BYU was playing in. Emily performed in the half time show. It ended up being a great experience for her. We had fun as a family enjoying the time we spent with each other. To have Derek all to ourselves for a few days was wonderful. I was able to put the grief on a shelf for a few days and it was nice. But then getting home and having the grief there waiting was not a pleasant thing. I guess I had a weeks worth of tears to catch up on. My thoughts and feelings have been running overboard since getting home and there is so much I could express but I won't. My arms ache as usual, my mind is trying to make sense of my life right now and I simply miss my baby! I think the reality that Wyatt won't be here for this Christmas and each and everyone after this is hitting me hard.
Snow fun

Las Vegas Bowl

Las Vegas Temple

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Family Pictures 2008

Here are our family pictures. This was something I shed many tears over. Each time I thought of doing our family pictures this fall I would cry. It just doesn't seem right that we would be having a family picture taken without our WHOLE family. I decided I couldn't have a photographer take them this year because I didn't know if I could make it through them without losing it so we did the self timer. It was also something I couldn't plan on. I had to have a day where I felt strong enough to do it. That day ended up being kind of windy so they didn't turn out as well as I would have liked but I made it through it.

The flower represents Wyatt. I think we will always have a flower or something in our family pictures from now on to remember Wyatt by. It has been an emotional thing for me. Maybe because it's something we have done every fall since we have been married. I had no idea that our picture last year would be the only one that our WHOLE family would be in. I look at our "new" family and it breaks my heart to not have our youngest in the picture.

I have also added our Christmas card for those of you that we don't have your address or e-mail address for. You may need to click on it to make it readable. We are very grateful for all the many people that have touched our life's this year. Thank you to each and everyone of you. For those we know and for those we don't know....THANK YOU!