Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Final Moments

When I think of the Monday before Kameron passed away it brings back so many emotions; contentment, gratitude and sorrow but mostly, I feel blessed to have had that last day together.

That Monday morning I met Cindy Hatch and Kay Ellet for lunch. We spent a few minutes at the hospital and I would ask Kameron if he recognized them, he shook his head yes and I was so excited for that. If you remember we were afraid Kameron might have extensive brain damage so, anytime he would recognize someone - I was overjoyed. As we were leaving they were trying to get Kameron's breathing tube to work correctly. They were afraid there might be a leak in it. I remember hoping they would just get the trach put in.

The whole time we were at lunch I had an antsy feeling to get back to the hospital but, I tried to push it aside and spend sometime away from there and with friends. Right as we were loading up the kids in the car, the infectious disease doctor called and told me the news about the valley fever. That is when she told me how life threatening everything is. As we drove back to the hospital I felt so sick to my stomach. It seemed like it took forever to get there. As Cindy parked and I climbed out, I said good-bye to Kason - who was on his way to Thatcher to spend time with the Warrens there. As soon as I turned my back, I burst into tears. I was so scared for Kameron and I felt like I needed Kason there for my strength. I tried to fight back the tears as I walked down the hall towards his room.

Once I got to his room I was glad to see him awake. His respirator sounded a lot better than it had before I left. I sat and talked with Kameron for a bit before he dozed off. The entire time I was there I had a nagging feeling to spend ALL my extra time with him when he was awake. I would sit and occupy my time until I saw that he was awake and then I would pull up a chair and sit there, holding his hand and talking to him. I would ask him if he could move his hands or if he remembered certain things. He always would and I would be so proud of him. I remember being very emotional that Monday. I remember a certain time where I was holding his hand and I looked into his eyes and I started thinking, "This poor man is suffering so badly. It's not fair, I just want him to be better." I started crying and wishing for everything to be over and better.

As I sat by his bed, right before leaving, I was holding his hand and I asked him, "can you squeeze my hand 3 times?" ... he squeezed my hand 3 times and then he kept going. He squeezed my hand as many times as his strength would allow him to. Probably 15 or 20 times. I was so proud of the strength he had! And then, I looked into Kameron's eyes and that is when I saw two tear drops fall from his eyes. He had a look of sorrow in his eyes. I told him, "You know, you're going to be okay right?" He slightly nodded his head yes. I patted his arm and told him, "I love you so, so much Kameron. You know that right?" And again, he nodded his head yes. I told him that I was getting ready to go but, I would be back on Wednesday. I couldn't stop telling him I loved him, I probably told him 5 or 6 times how much I loved him. As I got ready to walk out I told him, "I will see you soon, I promise." And those, are the last words that I said to my sweet husband.

Now, I am grateful for SO MANY things that happened that day. I am grateful that I had previously planned on sending Kason to Thatcher so that I could have undivided attention for Kameron. I am grateful for the promptings to spend extra time with Kameron. I am grateful for his strength in our final moments together. I am grateful for the things that I said to him.

I believe that he knew his Spirit was about the leave his body and that his body would stay and fight for a little while longer. I know that he was squeezing my hand as his way to say, "I love you, I will miss you but, I will be with you again. Be strong, be strong for yourself and be strong for Kason. You can do this, Goon. You are stronger than you think you are." He was crying those tears because he wanted so bad to say those things and he was feeling so much sorrow about leaving me behind. But at the same time, he knew exactly where he was going and what was in store for him. That brings me so much peace now.

I just have SO much gratitude for that last day we had together. I can't imagine if I had said different things, or if I hadn't said anything at all. What if I hadn't felt the need to spend extra time with him that day? I will always hold this day very close to my heart. It means so much to me to have these memories with him.

As I left his hospital room, I cried all the way to the car. I wasn't sure why I was so emotional. I just had so much love for Kameron that day and I wanted so much for all of his pain to be over with. Now, I am glad his pain is gone. It's hard to explain the feelings that a spouse goes through as you watch your best friend suffer the worst pain ever, to watch them constantly struggle for their life. So, from that point of view - I thank Heavenly Father that he finally put an end to Kameron's suffering. In a way, that makes all of this a little easier.

Monday night and Tuesday I was very emotional. I had a huge knot in my stomach both days. As I talked to his nurses, I knew that things weren't going well at the hospital but, I tried to stay positive. As I look back at the whole experience, I understand why things weren't going well, his body was trying to stay alive without a spirit to keep it alive.

What an amazing, spiritual experience those last couple days before his passing were for me. They weren't at the time, at the time I was going through them, they were just like any other day. But, as I look back, I can see the Lord's hand in his final day here on earth and in the last few hours we had together. I am grateful for that and for the Lord's understanding and love towards each of us.

And if I could say anything to Kameron, I wouldn't change anything I said I would still tell him,

"I will see you soon, I promise."

Saturday, September 19, 2009

9/19/09 - One Month

One month ago today is the day that Kameron passed away. This past month has gone F-A-S-T and at the same time it has seemed to last forever. I wasn't sure what my emotions would be today as I deal with the one month point of Kameron's death but, I don't think I expected to be so put together and ready to move on. But, at the same time so lonely. I also feel overwhelmed with all the things that are still going on and I am still having to take care of. I am overwhelmed with all the decisions that are having to be made all by myself - I'm not used to that. I am used to being able to turn to Kameron and ask his opinion.

As I look back over the past several weeks of hospital visits, numerous doctors, nurses, a sick husband, and then the end result, I realized that Heavenly Father really was preparing me for this. I just wasn't willing to listen and accept it.

Dr. Hueng would tell us almost every day, "Kameron is very very sick, but we are going to do everything we can to get him better. Just remember how sick he is." And a nurse once said, "IF he makes it through this ..." And at the time I was annoyed that she would say that! I also remember the infectious disease doctor telling me that the valley fever and the CMV on top of his lupus were very life threatening. That was just 2 days before he died. At the time that I would hear these things I was thinking, "don't say those things! He will be fine, he will make it, he's strong!" I remember the blessings that he was given come back to my mind and I would think, "see, they just don't understand because they don't know the blessings he has been promised."

Well, now I realize that they really did know and it was almost as if Heavenly Father was trying to get me to realize that Kameron might not make it. I was just too stubborn and I didn't want to think of that. I was stuck on the fact that Kameron's blessings would need to be fulfilled on earth. Maybe them saying those things has somehow, subconsciously, made things a little easier for me ... maybe not. But, I have been blessed with strength to make it through this past month, sometimes, amounts of strength I wouldn't have thought possible. As much as I don't want to make plans for my future that don't include Kameron, I know that it's something that needs to be done. I know that Kameron wouldn't want me to sit around and do nothing with my life. Kameron is my motiviation to get my life rolling again. Kason is my reason.

That's not to say that I don't still have difficult days. Every minute of every day is hard for me. It's hard for me to not look at Kason doing something fun and thinking, 'I wish Kameron could be here to do this with us.' But at the same time - I KNOW he is there with us, he is just experiencing it in a completely different way. He is still cheering us on and laughing at Kason's goofiness. It's hard for me to pass a restaurant that we loved eating at or a hotel where we spent a weekend and have those memories flood into my mind. I LOVE the memories but they are also a constant reminder that he is no longer here, physically. That is really hard.

I also have moments where I feel so lost. There could be 100 people around me and I would still feel lonely and lost. There are times where I just want to cry. The hardest times for me is when I think back to the day he passed away. It's so hard for all those emotions to come back to me. Remembering the fear and uncertainty as I drove to the hospital and the doctor's words, "It doesn't look good," continually running through my mind. Remembering the words the nurse said, "this is his body's way of dying." Watching his heartrate flatline and him coding and then finally just nothing. His body being still as they turned off all his machines.

I remember before he passed away the tech was standing by his bed trying so hard to get a blood pressure or a pulse. He would look at me with sorrow written all over his face. I couldn't look at him because then I would get drawn into accepting that Kameron was about to pass away. I didn't want to think that was an option so, I stood there, staring at the ground and occasionally looking up at Kameron's poor body that was barely putting out a strong heartbeat and his lungs not even getting oxygen to most of his body. His coloring was awful, I remember that was the first thing I thought when I walked into his room that morning. Avoiding any eye contact with the nurses was my state of shock, my way of not wanting to accept it. Not letting my brain think what everyone else knew was going to happen. I would clench my teeth so I didn't have to cry. I was so annoyed at the nurses who kept bringing in boxes of kleenex and I wanted to yell at them, "we don't NEED THOSE! this isn't going to happen!!!!"

It was a long hour between the time they told us he was passing away and the time he actually did. I wish I had said something but, what would have been the point? Kameron wasn't even in his body at that time - he was rotating between all of us, providing us with comfort. I remember saying that life isn't fair and asking why this had to happen to me?

At the time that Kameron passed away, I felt so weak. I didn't feel strong enough to have to go through this. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to learn from all of this and kept asking the pathetic, "why me?!" question. But, as I look back over the past month - I can see how much I have learned and how much I have grown. There have always been parts of the gospel that I have heard about and learned about growing up but it's hard to really understand some of those things, until you're really needing to put them into action.

One of these days I will write down all that I have learned about the gospel in the past month. I feel like a better person, a stronger member of the church, a better mom and wife, and I feel like I can be a better example to those around me because of what I have learned.

So, it definately has not been an easy month by any means! I have had good days and bad days, emotional days and depressed days but each of those days has taught me something about myself and about the importance of the gospel in my life.

I am actually excited for the future that I am planning for me and Kason. Yes, there are some scary parts to it but, it's exciting to think about what opportunities are in store for us on our new journey. And I know that if it's meant to be - then it will all work out somehow!

I have survived the past month and if I can make it through the 30-days following my best friends death - I can make it through anything.

I want to take 2 seconds and thank EACH OF YOU who reads this for your prayers, your financial support, your sympathy cards, your love, your offers of service, for everything you have all done. You are amazing to step up to the plate and be there for me and Kason - it means the world to me! There are so many wonderful people in this world and I am so blessed to be surrounded by so many of them!! I love each and every one of you and I seriously cannot thank you enough for everything that has been done for us this past month.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.
You have made this past month possible to survive.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Things I LOVE about my Kam ...

his laugh
his smile
his sense of humor
his deep love for me and kason
his love and understanding of the gospel
his love for his friends
his cooking (i miss this SOOO bad!!)
his love for sports and constant need to watch ESPN
his unselfish attitude
his testimony
his willing attitude
his good looks
his large circle of friends (we couldn't ever go anywhere without running into SOMEONE he knew!)
his balding spots
his ability to learn quick and remember what he learned
his interaction with kason
his Priesthood and willingness to use it
his desire to serve
his style
his courage
his spontinaity
his text messages
his determination to get things done and get them done right
his white shoes that had to be cleaned before everytime he wore them
his jokes (and our inside jokes!)
his cuddles
his confidence
his funness
his knowledge about EVERYTHING!
his singing
his stubborness
his whining
his toughness
his voice
his energy
his athletic abilities
his quick phone calls just to say "hi" & "i love you!"
his nickname for me ("goon")
his desire to be better and work harder
his competitiveness
his love for the scriptures
his care free attitude
his ironing skills
his sarcasm
his handyman skills
his love for his mission; his companions and the people of Cambodia
his hardworking attitude
his willingness to watch chick flicks with me
his willingness to drive everywhere - even on long trips
his spoiling me
his e-mails he would send from work
his words, "I love you just the way you are!"
his spoiling kason
his strength
his love to travel
his patience
his love for everyone he met
his dance moves
his giving attitude
his tv shows that he loved to watch
his kisses
his hoodies collection
his cute face
his pranks
his eyes
his hands and how he always wanted to hold mine (and the certain way we had to do it from day one!)
his missionary work and constant desire to share the gospel
his gospel insight
his sewing skills
his back scratches
his massages
his words "i love you SOOOOO much"
his hair gel that he was obsessed about
his family home evening lessons
his excitement over the little things in life
his baking
his love for his dog, dixie
his willingness to fold the laundry
his willingness to do the dishes
his sunglasses
his eye for decorating
his ears (one stuck out more than the other)
his words and notes
his creativity (especially in ways of expressing his love and ideas for dates!)
his opinion
his handwriting
his love for broadway musicals
his be-boppin' skills
his ridiculous amount of clothes and shoes
his love for hip-hop
his bad habits (all of them!)
his rope bracelets
his willingness to always try something new
his willingness to teach kason
his time devoted to being the best husband and the best dad possible
his time spent with me and kason doing fun, memorable things
his desire to always make me happy - no matter what
his love of hunting and outdoorsy stuff
his leadership skills
his eagerness to apologize
his want to give us the best life possible
his work outfits; polo, slacks and dress shoes
his love for WHITE hats
his love towards his brothers
his devotion to the D-backs (even when they were awful!)
his support towards me, no matter what i was doing
his stories
his example
his face when he was frustrated or annoyed
his willingness to let me win and be "right"
his clutter
his smell
his worthiness
his choice to marry me in the temple

just ... HIM.

I miss Kameron every minute of every day more than I could ever explain and I miss so many of these things about him!

It's amazing how losing someone makes you miss (and love!) all the things that used to drive you crazy about them. I used to HATE that he never put the toilet seat down but, now, I wish that I had to put it down everytime I went in the bathroom. I used to hate how he would never fold his socks in pairs, he would just stuff them in his drawer but now, I find myself doing the exact same thing. I especially used to hate that his shoes were always scattered all over the house but now, I wishing they were still there for me to trip over.

Even though I miss all of these things about him, they are still who Kameron is. He didn't become less selfless because he died, he didn't lose his love for baseball - he is still Kameron! He has the same personality and the same knowledge. If anything it has only been magnified with the knowledge he now has!!

And the best part about it, is I can still have all the memories about him! I just have to close my eyes and remember. Kameron will be there to help me remember all the things I love so much about him. I won't ever forget the kind of amazing man he was here on earth. I am excited to find out what kind of amazing man he has become in heaven, I can only imagine the things he has learned and the ways he has grown! He is one amazing man. I cannot wait to hold his hand again, in just a little while.

How lucky am I to be able to call him my Eternal Companion?!
What a BLESSING Eternal Marriages are!!!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Feel free to post this to your blog to get the word out!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Kam ...

If I had known back then, what I know now .....

I wouldn't have gone to Utah and I would have spent those few days with you before you went on the respirator for the rest of your life.

When we were at home, I would have turned the computer off just 10 minutes sooner and spent more time with you.

I would have never let go at night and held you all night long.

I would have kissed you a lot more.

I would have woken up 30 minutes earlier in the morning to spend some extra time with you.

I would have never complained about all the things that used to drive me crazy and now, I really miss them all.

I would have told you 'I love you' a lot more than I did.

I would have never yelled at you and always let you know how much I appreciate you.

I would have stayed at the hospital more than I did.

I would have let you choose the movies more often or where to go out to eat.

I would have let you be right more.

I would have appreciated you more, loved you more, cared for you more, been less selfish and more giving.

I am hurting for you. My heart ACHES to have you by my side. I am so lonely without you. This isn't my life, it doesn't seem normal and it doesn't come naturally. I work everyday to be happy ... I never had to do that with you by my side.

I may regret a a lot of things that I didn't do, or wish I had done differently, but, I will never, ever regret choosing you to be my best friend, my soul mate and my eternal companion.

I am so sorry for all the things I should have done but didn't and I am sorry for all the times I should have been there and wasn't. I will make it up to you, somehow ... someday. I promise you that!!

I will love you forever and for always, no matter what, Kam.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Funeral Friday

Last Friday were Kameron's funeral services. It was a LONG, emotional, exhausting day. But, we survived to tell about it.

I didn't sleep much the night before, just tossing and turning, thinking about what I was going to have to do the next day, worrying about things and if everything had gotten done. 6:30am came way too early the next morning! Breakfast wasn't even an option for me, I was so sick to my stomach. We hurried to get ready and headed out the door to the church.

When we got to the church we had to get the memory table set up. We had pictures of Kam as a baby and a little boy, pictures of EAC days and our marriage and family. I had brought a baseball glove, his scriptures, memoires from his mission, a BYU hat, and a few other things that just reminded me of Kam. After we got that set up I was able to greet family and friends and breathe a little. I was amazed at all the beautiful flower arrangements that were in the chapel. As we moved to the family viewing, there were even more! It was great to have tangible things that showed us people were thinking of us. {thank you.}

It was nice to be in the family viewing with just our families. It was a quiet time for us to all enjoy each others company and say our final good-bye's to Kam before the closed the casket. At 9:30 the funeral coordinator closed the casket and opened the doors to friends who had been invited in. A long line of friends, ward members, mission companions and Presidents, & co-workers all filed through. I couldn't tell you every person that came through but the hardest people to see as they passed through were Kameron's old college buddies {Tyler, Mason, Ben, Jade} ... I could tell that they were having the hardest time being there and it was really really hard for me to see them. After the line had died down, we had a family prayer, given by Matt. And then we filed into the chapel.

The services were beautiful. Everyone did an amazing job. I had hoped to get it recorded for family members that couldn't be there but, that didn't work out. But, it really was an amazing service. It was a relief to see it all put together and go smoothly.

The opening song was, "Be Still, My Soul." and a prayer given by Mike Goodman.

Mason Nicholls gave Kameron's life sketch and did an amazing job. They were the best of friends and Mason knew things about Kam that nobody else knew. I was grateful that Mason took the time out of his training (for I.C.E.) to be there. It meant alot to me and I am sure to Kam.

Ammon Matsuda, a friend of Kam's from Japan, was able to be here (he now lives in Dallas, TX). And he spoke about Kam as well. They were such good friends back when Kameron and his family lived in Japan and they have kept in touch all these years. Ammon did such a great job and it was fun to hear some of the stories he told because I hadn't heard a lot of them! Ammon was the one who read that letter, posted previously.

After Ammon spoke, my cousin Emily, sang "The Test" by, Janice Kapp Perry and did a BEAUTIFUL job. It is such a beautiful song and was perfect for the services.

Bishop Barkdull gave some remarks followed by President Goates. I WISH that I had been able to hear there talks better but, Kason was starting to get fidgety.

Closing song was, "Families are Forever" with a closing song by Merri Regimballe.

We then filed out of the chapel and they loaded the casket into the vehicle. We all gathered around and as people came out they gave hugs and visited. After {lots} of visiting and hugs and offers of help, we headed out towards Thatcher for the burial.

That too was a beautiful service. It would have been even more beautiful if it hadn't been 106 degrees!!! But, it was quick and nice. Bishop Sanders conducted and Daniel gave an opening prayer. Then members (new and old) of the EAC A Capella choir sang, "The Lord Bless You and Keep You." and then Art gave the dedicatory prayer followed by a few remarks by Bishop Sanders and the closing prayer by my Grandpa Davies. After the closing prayer we scattered flower petals on the casket and sent balloons up to heaven for Daddy.

I was amazed at how many people were there at the graveside. It was wonderful have so much support on such a tough day. I had found out later that the attendance at the funeral was amazing as well, they had to keep putting up more and more chairs as people kept showing up. That was so neat for me to hear and know that Kameron had touched so many lives. It made people willing to sacrifice a lot to be there to show their support for him and our family. It was really wonderful. So, since I will never be able to thank each of you individually - THANK YOU for being there and for showing your support, love and concern. It means more to me than you will ever know. It really was wonderful to see you all there.

So, after the graveside, and after they lowered his casket down, we headed to the Thatcher Stake Center for a yummy meal that our old ward had prepared for us! It was really nice to just relax in a cool building, visit with family and old ward members. A nice way to end the day.

It really was a LONG day. I had never been so tired in my life! I was physically, emotionally and spiritually EXHAUSTED. But, it was good to have it over with and I think that some really good, positive memories were made that day.

I was amazed at the strength I had to get through the day and I kept wondering, "why aren't I crying?? What's wrong with me?". And I will be honest in saying, I don't think alot of that strength was my own. I think it was from you guys, from people praying for me to have the strength and comfort to make it through the day. I also didn't feel Kameron very close to me the day of the funeral. It wasn't a bad thing, I realized later that I didn't need him that day, I had other forms of strength to get me through the day. I think that other family members needed to feel him closer than I did on Friday. I hope that they were able to feel his love and feel his comfort as their mourned his passing. I also pray that they will always remember the words that were spoken about the Plan of Salvation and that they can remember the promises that come from it.

Kameron's funeral day was a good day. It was a hard day, but has been nice to have it over with. It was wonderful to meet some family for the first time and see others that I have met before. I was grateful for the support that was shown on my side of the family, for those who traveled to be there. I was amazed at the love and support that was shown on the day of the funeral. I was, and still am, grateful for the gospel, for the promises we have been given and the the knowledge that we have.

Kameron is in a beautiful resting spot and his body is prepared for the Resurrection - and for that, I am very very grateful. I cannot wait until the day comes that I am able to leave this mortal life and be buried next to my husband. It is only but a little while.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dear Kam,

This is a letter that was read during Kameron's funeral services:

My dear, sweet Kameron,

It’s hard to know what to say that you don’t already know. But, I want you to know how much you mean to me. You are the best person to come into my life and you have changed the person I am and the type of person I will become. You have taught me so many things that I will never forget. And I am so grateful for the gift you have left behind for me, our sweet little boy, Kason. He is such a joy and reminds me so much of you. He has so much of you in him, in his personality, his looks, his attitude and especially his stubbornness! Thank you for Kason and thank you for everything that you taught him and the time you spent with him. You are an amazing dad and I know you will watch over Kason and help him grow up strong.

When I think back to our dating days, I remember having so much fun with you. There wasn’t a day that went by that I wasn’t excited to see you and spend all my extra time with you. I was so excited when I realized that I loved you and wanted to spend the rest of eternity with you and I was even more thrilled when you said you felt the same way. On our wedding day, as we knelt across the alter from each other, and we began our new life together, we had no idea what was in store for us but, it didn’t matter because we were in love and we were to be together for eternity. I remember thinking that with you by my side we could make it through anything.

Kameron, I am so grateful for the wonderful 5 years we were able to share together, here on earth. I have so many memories with you that I will never forget. You have made such a difference in my life and I have grown so much in the past 5 years because of what you have taught me and because of your example. You are such strong priesthood holder and you have such a solid testimony of the gospel.

I think that is why our Heavenly Father needs you home with Him. You will be such a strong instrument in heaven as you teach the gospel there. Your love and compassion for others will help you as you teach. You are an elite member of Heavenly Father’s army now and you are preparing the way for me and Kason so that we can all be reunited again.

It has been so hard to live my life without you next to me and it is hard to think about my future. But, I KNOW that you are happy and healthy. I know that your body is whole and that your mind is sharp. All the things that were promised to you have been fulfilled. I am scared for my life without you but, I cannot WAIT for our eternity together. We have so much life left to live together and I can’t wait to raise our children together and serve missions together. I know that there is so much left for us to do together. That is why I am so grateful we were sealed for time and all eternity. Your leaving this mortal life is not the end of our life together. This time that I have left on the earth is only a small moment in our eternity.

Kason and I will be okay. He will always know what an amazing father he has. I have so many wonderful stories to tell him about you. I know that you won’t ever leave us and you will always be by our sides helping us through this life. I love you so very much and miss you more than words could ever explain but, I am happy for you and where you are. You are in a much better place and I find myself jealous at times that you have been freed from this mortal life. See you in a little while my sweet husband.

With much love,
Your Eternal Companion, Jami