When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. ~Kahlil Gibran
I wasn't planning on posting today, but I got online to check a few things and found myself here. My heart is so heavy right now, I'm not even sure how to put into words what heartache and pain the loss of my little brother has caused. I have experienced some pretty huge trials in my life (most of them very private and personal), but nothing like this, nothing this difficult. I just want him back so badly, I want to tell him how much I love him, how much Court loves him, how much my kids love him. 20 years old is just too young to die!
June 19th, 2011 will forever be burned into my brain as the hardest day of my life. The day started out so great, it was Fathers Day, and for the first time ever we were getting to celebrate with both my husband and my dad. We were in Monteray California with my parents on a fun weekend get away. I had planned a surprise Fathers Day breakfast at Pebble Beach. Court has always dreamed of going there and since actually golfing there was 100% out of our budget, I thought it would be fun to go eat there and at least get to drive around and see what a beautiful place it was. We all enjoyed a great breakfast and then walked around the grounds. That place is truly breath taking. It was very quiet and peaceful there. We took a drive on the historic 17-mile drive. After we were done it was time to take Court to the airport, he was coming home to work and the kids and I were staying with my parents for another week.
We all headed out on the main highway, my parents were a few cars in front of us when suddenly we couldn't find them anymore. We looked over and they were pulled over on the side of the highway, but by the time we saw them it was too late for us to stop. As we drove past them I noticed my dad sitting up on the side of the hill, he was on his phone, and looked very upset. My first thought was that something was wrong with the car. We pulled over on the next exit and waited for them to call. We waited and waited but didn't hear anything. Frantically I started calling each of my parents cell phones, no answer. Then I called my little sisters phone and finally my mom picked up... I could hear them all screaming and crying, but I couldn't even tell what they were saying. After a few minutes I heard my mom scream, "Jake's dead". I started bawling and shaking, I was in complete shock, I was able to calm down enough for us to get back on the highway and get back to where my parents were. After about ten minutes of all of us hugging and crying, Court and I convinced my parents that we needed to get off the side of the highway and get everyone to somewhere safe. My parents were in no condition to drive and I knew that if I were in the car with them that I would fall apart, so Court drove my parents in their car, and I drove our car with our kids.
We pulled over in a hotel parking lot and my husband gave each of my parents a priesthood blessing of comfort. Then we all held hands (a tradition in my dad's family) and I gave a family prayer. A very sweet hotel worker had noticed us in the parking lot, he brought us a box of Kleenex and told us how sorry he was although he didn't know exactly what was going on. I know that the Lord was with us that day, the Spirit gave me strength to remain relatively calm in an unimaginable situation and gave my husband the ability to step up and direct us in what to do. I am so grateful for the power of the Priesthood, I am grateful for a husband who was worthy to use that power when it was needed so desperately. I am grateful for the power of prayer and that in our darkest hour we could turn to the Lord.
I immediately started making calls to my Aunts and Uncles in Utah to tell them what had happened. They all rushed over to be with my brother Ryan, who had been the first to find out the devastating news of Jake's sudden, unexpected death. My dads sister looked up to see the next available flight to Utah, booked my parents on it, and we drove them to the nearest airport. I can't even explain the gratitude that I have for my extended family, how they all stepped up and took care of us without a question or second thought. After Court and I got my parents situated at the airport we began the two hour drive back to my parents home with my younger siblings and our children. When we got back to their home we were met by my parents best friends and the Bishop of their ward. The Bishop spoke with us, gave us words of comfort, and then he and Court gave both my sister and I a blessing. After about an hour we packed up the cars and my dads twin brother meet us at the house to help drive everyone out to Utah.
I think I am to a point still in shock of all that transpired that day. It doesn't feel real and I wish so badly that it was all a horrible nightmare. I am so grateful that the Lord had things set in place so that Court and I could be with my parents that day and that Ryan could be in Utah with Jake. I will forever be grateful for my brother Ryan and all that he had to endure the day of Jake's death. He was there for Jake and he had the unimaginable job of having to call my parents and tell them the news.
Despite the heartache, questioning, and sadness that has come from this tragedy, I feel strengthened. I feel that my testimony has grown immensely in the past two weeks. My gratitude for the Gospel, The Plan of Salvation, The Priesthood, Family, and the Savior has been intensified ten fold. I feel that I now have a better understanding of Heavenly Fathers plan for each of us and know that if we live worthily then we can return to live with him again.
I KNOW Jake is in a better place, a place so beautiful and peaceful that our mortal minds can not comprehend it's beauty. I know Jake is surrounded by his loved one's that past on before him. He has people there to love him and care for him. I know that there was a purpose in Jake leaving this earth so quickly. I know that he has things he needs to do there and people that need him there. I know he will be an instrument in the Lord hands. I know these things because I can feel them, the Holy Ghost has confirmed them to me in my heart. My heart is still broken that he is gone, that our family is changed forever, but I feel peace in knowing we have a Guardian Angel looking down on us.