Monday, October 1, 2012

It's Personal

It's been a little over 15 months now since Sam passed away last June. It's been a hard 15 months. The hardest. But also the best. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" right? I never understood that phrase from Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities" so much until now. Since the last time I wrote I've experienced many firsts without Sam; my first Christmas, my first Easter, my first time falling in love, my first taste of despair, my first year of having to live without someone I love. I don't mean this post to be sad, I want it to be happy! I've accomplished so much! I have survived the first year without Sammy, and I didn't just survive it, I lived it. I thrived. I lived and I loved and I am proud of myself. Those first months after Sam passed away all I wanted to do was curl into a ball in my room and never come out. I started to do that, but I was blessed with amazing friends who wouldn't let me do any such thing. Every time I started to collapse inside of my self they grabbed me by the back of my neck and dragged me out. Thank you friends. You mean the world to me. Yesterday in church I had the privilege to experience to listen to a wonderful lesson on the Lord's temples and the blessings they can be in our lives. He asked for us to share some experiences that we've had in the temple to make it personally special to each of us individually. Immediately I was swarmed by memories of the times in the past year I've gone to the temple. Standing out the most was a memory I had from earlier this year. Nathan was going to school in Long Beach and I'm still living in Acton with my parents, so one afternoon in March we were texting and he sent me a text saying that he was going to go to the Los Angeles that evening with his ward and immediately the thought came into my head of how nice it would be to meet him there. I had been having a particularly rough time around then, missing Sam badly, so a trip to the temple sounded heavenly. I started calling my friends from around here to see who was going to the temple tonight and if we could possibly carpool. Unfortunately no one was going, but I was determined! So I made the commitment to conquer the scary drive into LA on my own. (I survived just barely.) To this day that night is still the best of my life. (The suspense is building...) I arrived at the temple but Nathan and his crew weren't there yet, so I took a walk over to the temple's visitors center to use the restroom. On my way back to my car I felt like ambling right next to the temple walls, taking time to smell the flowers, my favorite thing to do every time I visit. Suddenly I had this overwhelming feeling that Sam was with me. His spirit surrounded me, and I could see his smile and here his voice. I felt his arms go around me, so lovingly, so different from his hugs on earth, he said "Hi Jessie", and I smiled so big. I whispered back "Hey Sammy. I miss you." He told me how he missed me too, but he was also happy. He told me he was safe. As I write this I question whether I should because it's just so personal. But when Brother Potter asked on Sunday what experiences we've had that made the temple sacred to us I desperately wanted to share. But I knew that the moment I opened my mouth I'd be bawling and I didn't think anyone needed to witness that. I also have this constant disdain for pity. I didn't want to tell my story and have anyone "feel sorry for me" because my brother died. That wasn't the point. The point was how much I love the temple and how much I miss being there and cannot wait to go back. I'm much better at writing than talking anyway. I've finally come to terms with my introverted-ness. I'm embracing it and I love it! It gives a new sense of confidence that I never thought being introverted could have. So as Brother Potter continued his lesson he started talking about heaven, and the spirit world, and he started picking out certain people and asking them who would be waiting for them when they passed into the spirit world. I felt Nate squeeze my hand and I knew we were thinking the same thing. I desperately wanted him to ask me. But also cowered at the chance that he might do so (again with the pity thing). A few people said their grandparents, and that was sweet. This was a situation I had never thought of before and it exhilarated me to know that Sam will be there waiting for me! Who better then a brother and best friend to welcome you home? I look forward to that day. I've had a great year with great people and we've made great memories. And Sam is in those memories forever our brother. When people ask me about my family I still tell them that I have one sister and six brothers. Because I do! Just because one is missing from sight doesn't mean he isn't still there. He is forever in our hearts and minds. He is a part of who I am today. He has made me a better person, someone with ever more depth. I don't despair anymore. I look forward to each day with an eagerness. Thanks Sam.

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