Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Now, Live with Laughter

Hello Everyone,
My heart ached when I wrote the last update and I thought this journey had come to an end but like Lindsey, there is just too much to contain in 1 final entry. Even after her time here with us came to an end Lindsey’s influence continues on and on.
I wanted to share with you the events following Lindsey’s graduation because it has truly been so uplifting and spiritual. I know that if I can help you feel a tiny bit of what I have felt this week then I have accomplished what needed to be done. On behalf of Lindsey…..
Planning a funeral can be chaotic, depressing, disparaging, and something you just don’t want to have to deal with. You envision someone just wanting to wallow in their misery at the loss that has occurred. I can tell you that none of that was true as Josh, the family and the friends came together to create a tribute that would be fitting for her memory. The day Lindsey passed away her sister Savanah’s friend pulled us all together and sang us the most incredible song which she had written for Lindsey. It was so amazing and beautiful…it was perfect. Everything just fell into place as we pulled together to create an experience which would inspire people as Lindsey did. I think we were able to accomplish that very thing.
Sunday night, we knew many people would come to the viewing (isn’t that an odd word?) but we were truly overcome with joy at the sheer numbers that came to tell us of their love for our beautiful girl. Over 500 Sunday night alone. The line was 2 hours long and people stayed. There could be no rush for the moments we spent with everyone. Feelings and memories were being shared. Hugs, joy, and sadness as well but it was incredible. Someone mentioned to me that we would be there until 10:30pm! I said FANTASTIC!! I wouldn’t want it to be any other way. The only thing that gave any argument was my feet J
Monday, it was the same. So many people wanting that last moment with Lindsey. One of her very best friends flew in from New Orleans. Another lady came and spent the 2 hours in line. She had never met Lindsey, Josh, or any of the rest of the family, but she had read her story and just needed to come and meet us. That is the powerful impact of Lindsey.
The moment came to say goodbye. Josh leaned over his sweetheart one last time and gently kissed her on the lips. It was the only time he wept publicly. He has been so incredibly strong.
The funeral became a living tribute to Lindsey. The music touched our hearts. Her siblings did the life sketch and shared a personal experience of Lindsey. Then Josh….yes, he spoke. He talked of his love for Lindsey, what it meant to care for her and how it deepened their love, her impact, her love for others, it was powerful and touching. We were all moved by his strength. He was referred to as a giant among men, a warrior for Lindsey. It’s true, he was Lindsey’s warrior against all the battled against her. Mark and I spoke, (I will post the story I shared at friends request in a separate post) her parents. Todd had us laughing at wonderful memories, such as Lindsey’s love of Halloween and outrageous costumes! He called her a firecracker and she was! Then the Bishop. He spoke of going to the hospital in June and even though Lindsey was swollen from the medication he told of how incredibly beautiful she looked. So much so that she looked like an angel. He said he felt as if he needed to remove his shoes, that he was walking on holy ground when he entered her room. It was indeed the way many of us felt those last weeks when we were with Lindsey. You knew that she wasn’t enduring this journey on her own. You knew and felt the angels there to help her.
Following the funeral was the graveside service. There was so much we wanted to show emotionally that we extended it to this beautiful spot where Lindsey’s physical body will remain while her spirit soars free. The song again written and sung by her sisters sweet friend and then the dedication. The pallbearers looked on with their yellow ties (her favorite color) They stood side by side and appeared to stand ready to protect this spot. So touching was the dedication by her grandfather, Darwin Cottle. I will never forget these moments.
I must pause in her story to thank the numerous people who stepped forward to help with this day. I can’t name you all by name but you know who you are and you know you are loved. From the viewing and helping with all the preparations necessary there, to the luncheon where it took 4 separate Relief Societies to organize and produce a lunch for approximately 200 people. There were even French fries from Taco Amigo! Awesome.
Needless to say as the day wound down we should have been emotionally spent and physically exhausted but there were still moments to be had on this incredible day. Those who wished met us by Utah Lake and we didn’t have profound things to say. We only wished to end the day on a light note. Which was exactly what happened!. The wind was blowing and we needed it to be calm (I think Lindsey orchestrated that) there were bugs aplenty so we couldn’t stand still for very long, most of the lighters didn’t work but somehow we made it all happen. The wind would carry the lanterns down the beach and people were chasing them and laughing. One caught fire (my husbands - lol) people were continually swatting at the bugs. Honestly, it was a huge laugh fest and I know Lindsey was smiling and laughing watching it all happen. We did get many of the lanterns to fly and on them was written “Lindsey, Shine bright and fly free” and oh how she did! It was a beautiful site to witness.
2 days later the new music lab at Grovecrest Elementary was dedicated in Lindsey’s honor. On the walls in each room were the mottos “I hope you dance” and a plaque with Lindsey’s picture and living through laughter motto hangs in the entry to both rooms. So Lindsey didn’t just inspire each of us to be better people, or even the people who had never met her before from her story being shared. She will inspire generations of children who pass through those doors to be more, do more, and most importantly to do it all while laughing and dancing!
May we all remember the feelings we have had while sharing Lindsey and Josh’s story. I pray we all try, especially on those days when things aren’t going our way, to remember than none of the trials we face could be more difficult than Lindsey’s own journey and yet she never lost her smile, her will to fight for every moment, her love for Josh, her family and friends. She never let this trial make her bitter, or angry. I never saw self pity in her eyes or felt depression when I was with her. Those who spoke to her felt better themselves after coming to comfort ‘her’. I believe if it wasn’t impossible for Lindsey then we surely can do that for ourselves and those around us. The impact she had on life was incredible. We have that very ability. It’s within us to make it happen so with all the love I hold for this incredible girl and the lessons she taught me…..I hope you dance.
With love and thanks,

Thursday, August 25, 2011

As in life on earth, when one season comes to an end, another begins - and so it is with Lindsey.

Hello Everyone,
I'm sitting alone in my office at home and next to my computer is a beautiful picture of Lindsey. It was taken when Josh and Lindsey were engaged and she has the most radiant smile you can imagine. Josh enhanced the sepia toned picture by accentuating Lindsey's beautiful blue eyes and they were so full of happiness and life the day it was taken. It was the smile that drew people to her like moths to light. The smile that inspired 100's of people who didn't even know her but felt her love and joy. The smile that greeted me each time I saw her and later each time I entered her room while she lie in her bed. The smile, which she tried so hard to show on Tuesday nite to Josh. Her joy was complete the day she married her best friend just a little more than 3 years ago.

Before I began this update I said a quiet prayer that I would be able to convey Lindsey's feelings and happiness. I am being told over and over she is incredibly, joyously happy. I know she will sit beside me while I tell her final eartly story and that brings me unimaginable comfort.

Tuesday night I was with Josh and Lindsey with my son Matt. Lindsey was there but struggling to communicate thru the fragileness of her weakened and stricken body. She looked at me, not with bright eyes, but with eyes that said "I did all I could do" I whispered in her ear that she had fought so incredibly hard and she nodded her head yes. She struggled to raise her hand and made the 'I love you' symbol. I couldn't believe the will of her spirit to be able to do such a thing when the rest of her body could barely do anything at all. She slowly turned to Josh and then to Matt and made the same symbol. It touched my heart with joy and pain. I don't think I can fully explain to you the extent of my love for Lindsey. When you are allowed to serve someone your love grows and grows until you feel you might burst. That is how much I loved her. You can only imagine Josh's love for Lindsey for the love and care he showed her. Always by her side. Doing what it took to make her comfortable and happy. It physically hurt to pull myself from her that night. I thought of her all thru the restless night that followed.

Wednesday morning Josh got up as usual and went to work. He said Lindsey's breathing had been a little louder, like snoring and since Lindsey mostly slept thru the day he didn't think too much of it. However, it was Lindsey's body doing it's final preparations to finally be done. As the moments rolled on, all of her siblings, Josh's family, nieces, nephews, aunts, best friends, gathered in Lindsey's room. We were told it could be a short while or it took take some time. Honestly, I thought that Lindsey had beaten all of the other predictions that we were going to be there a while. No one wanted to leave, however and there were nearly 25 people gathered around her bed. Lindseys Mom Pam gave one of the most beautiful prayers I have ever heard and we all began to share our feelings and testimonies regarding Lindsey's life, her legacy, Josh and the care he gave her and the plan of salvation. It was one of the most spiritual and beautiful experiences of my life. Each person dug deep and there were many tears shed. My sons, who are typically incredible private people, shared their love of Lindsey and also their admiration for their brother. We had nearly all spoken when Pam began and while she spoke Lindsey took her final and very peaceful breaths and let that burdensome body go free. It was so peaceful that I really believe if we hadn't been so focused on her we may have missed it. Lindsey graduated from this eartly existence at 2:22 pm (her moms favorite #) it was no coincidence. I will tell you that I honestly believe Lindseys spirit had already escaped that ravaged body. She was with us to be sure but her body made no movement whatsoever that day. Her eyes didn't flutter, her fingers didn't twitch, her head didn't move, she didn't try to speak. It was just breathing and I know she was so incredibly happy to be free. To be the Lindsey we know. To look at her in that bed couldn't be Lindsey. There was no life, no joy, no happiness. No, that could not be her....but she was there beyond our ability to see her, doing her happy dance :)

We have so deeply been moved by the outpouring of love we have received in service and messages we have received. Lindsey's facebook page was inundated with messages and memories and Josh cherished each one. They have been so comforting for him and all of us during this time. Josh is a rock and doing well. He stayed in the same room last night while he, Todd (Lindsey's Dad) and his friend Grant all shared fun memories of Lindsey. Josh wanted to stay close to where she was. He told me that he knows she is happy. There was nothing left unsaid between them and he is peaceful about her passing.

Lindsey's funeral will be held on Monday at 1p in the Timpanogos Stake Center, 800 North 100 West in Pleasant Grove. A viewing will be held 1 hour prior to the funeral and at the same location on Sunday night from 6:30 - 8:30pm. On Monday nite we will be having a special send off for Lindsey by setting 40 floating lanterns aloft to celebrate her life and anyone who would like to participate is free to join us. I will give more information regarding that location later on.

Thank you all for sharing Lindsey's journey with us. Thank you for opening your hearts to her story and letting it be a part of who you are. But....her journey is not finished, only beginning. She is on her way to her next great adventure and I'm envious. For those that know Lindsey and those who have felt her through these updates, she is laughing that wonderful laugh, singing at the top of her lungs, dancing her most happy dance, and watching over us. Lindsey, we love you and you will forever be in our hearts. May we all live as Lindsey lived. With laughter, hope, and dreams.

The Parable of Immortality
I am standing by the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength,
and I stand and watch until at last she hangs like a peck of white cloud
just where the sun and sky come down to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says :
- ‘There she goes!
Gone where?
Gone from my sight – that is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
as she was when she left my side
and just as able to bear her load of living freight
to the places of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at the moment when someone at my side says:
- ‘There she goes! ‘,
there are other eyes watching her coming to shore,
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout :
- ‘Here she comes!’
By Henry Van Dyke