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,