My kids are 5 (just turned) and almost 3, and for the past year, I’ve finally started to feel like myself again–I’ve got my body back (mostly), my energy back, my motivation for organizing and writing back–I’m in a good place. But that period of time between bringing home baby #2 and now has been …
Life is really good right now. And so I feel guilty. When I scan the faces in the Relief Society room or the neighborhood playgroup or the overcrowded grocery store, I see a lot of suffering. Too much heartache. An abundance of stress, anxiety, dissatisfaction. One friend struggles with both infertility and an abusive marriage. …
Children are back in school. I have seen the Staples commercials and know that it’s the “hap-happiest time of the year” for many families. In honor of this season I wax nostalgic about lessons I learned through the years. Not all of these lessons are noble, but like too much sun exposure in my youth, their effects linger.
As a Visiting Teacher, I’ve had my ups and downs. I got started off on the wrong foot during my freshman year of college, when I was assigned to visit the Relief Society president’s roommate, who was a new convert. If I didn’t make an appointment the first week of the month, the Relief Society president would come by my room to remind me. And because I can be passive aggressive (and because the RS president had a crush on my boyfriend), I started keeping the door closed, and my roommate and I would hide under our desks and pretend we weren’t home whenever we heard her forceful and distinctive knocking (yes, the hiding under the desks was entirely gratuitous because you couldn’t see through the door, but we were eighteen, and it was funny). Anyway, the real loser was the new convert, because my passive aggressiveness won out and she didn’t get the blessing of being graced with my presence once a month, and I suppose me, because I’ve always struggled with visiting teaching.
Today’s UP CLOSE guest post comes from Sunny Smart. Sunny is a stay-at-home mom with two part-time jobs, four full-time kids, and one fantastic husband. Those stats aren’t likely to change anytime soon. She loves to bake but hates to cook, loves cleanliness but dreads cleaning, wants to be a vegetarian but really loves steak, and thinks laughter makes the world go round. Most days she can be found consuming large amounts of caffeine, baking bread, and laughing with friends. She feels honored that Segullah is sharing her story.
I was fifteen when my father passed away. The doctors had told us three months previous we must make him comfortable and wait for the inevitable. It would be painful, we were told, but there would be plenty of drugs.
I remember the smell. Each day after school I checked on my father, emptied his urine and colostomy bags, swabbed his mouth with a wet sponge so he could swallow, checked his IV’s, moved his arms and legs to slow the painful atrophy. I remember when the black spots started appearing on his feet.
“He’s rotting,” our neighbor, a nurse, told me as I stood staring at his swollen, speckled feet. “His body is already dying and starting to decompose.” These may seem like harsh words to say to a young girl standing at the bed of her dying father, but I found them strangely comforting. Almost as if the moment I was dreading most would come in small increments and I wouldn’t be faced with losing him all at once.
Mendy Hunter was born and raised in Pennsylvania. She is the fourth of eight children. Mendy left the lush, green hills of her home and headed west to BYU. After taking a scholastic break to complete a mission in Romania, she graduated with an English degree. Soon thereafter, she married, started a family and moved to Maryland, where she currently resides. Mendy now has four children and spends her days in the full-time occupation of motherhood. Interests in addition to her family include reading, quilting, hair-styling and blogging at Mother Is A Verb at www.mendyhunter.blogspot.com
I have seen death. I was touching my five-year-old brother when he took his last breath. “I love you, Brent. I love you,” I repeated as I stroked his arm. I wanted him to hear that, to know that, and to remember it when he slipped from this world to the next. His weary body had been fighting the leukemia for almost four years, but his death certificate blames pneumonia for his demise. (The slightest common cold quickly turns into pneumonia when your body doesn’t have the immune system to fight it.)
My father, older brother and I reclined on the bed around his failing body. “My right lung just collapsed,” he announced through ragged breaths. How did he even know what that felt like? I wondered. His breathing grew louder, more labored, if such a thing were possible. Then it was silent. Painfully, loudly silent; we did not speak to break the ugliness. There was nothing to say.