Monday, December 22, 2008

I am behind. Waaaay behind.

Once Christmas is over, and my headless chicken impersonation ebbs, I'll actually have time to update this blog! There's so much to tell you about: Fan clubs, hiking, snow, star lip gloss, gingerbread houses, Death by Latte, white elephants, MRI & bone scan, and even a birthday party. Yes, I have a lot to catch up on. 

In the meantime, I wish you all a wonderful Christmas! 

Monday, December 8, 2008

A very touching and eye opening funeral.

Where do I start? Okay, a week ago (refer to previous post) a UPS driver was killed when someone made a left hand turn in front of him. As I said in that post also, I hear about fatalities unfortunately all the time, but this particular one really affected me. Not only did I feel a loss from the UPS family, but I also felt a strange connection to this man, almost as though I somehow knew him. Whatever the connection was, I definitely felt the loss. It's a strange feeling grieving for someone I don't know, yet somehow I do. I was talking to someone about this accident, and was commenting that all the tragic, untimely deaths lately are people that are kind, compassionate, service oriented people with huge hearts who put themselves before others. Have you noticed that in the news? My first impression of Alan (after hearing of his death), was "I'll bet that he had a heart of gold, and is one of those people who will leave an impression on those he knew, and will leave a legacy for those he loved." Until I went to his funeral, I had no idea how accurate that was, but even that thought didn't even come close to the type of man that was presented to us that day. I got a small glimpse at how Christlike he was when I read his obituary, but it was at the services when I learned truly how remarkable of a man he was.

As we pulled up to the Stake Center, we saw UPS's first symbol of gratitude towards this man's service. Out on the street was one of their big brown trucks, with a large banner that covered the windshield and wrapped around the side mirrors. On the banner was a picture of Alan that was taken at the UPS center, on a plaque that commemorated a 25 years of service milestone. On the grill was a wreath with brown ribbons, with his name on one, and then a license plate frame that said "In loving memory of Alan Christoffersen." A large majority of UPSers showed up in uniform to show respect to him. There were hundreds there. Nolan & I were lucky to make it there just in time to find a seat in the chapel, arriving a half hour early. The chapel quickly filled up, as did the cultural hall. By the time the services started, the cultural hall was packed, standing room only. I can only imagine the view from the pulpit: family, friends, I'm sure many of his customers on his route, and then a sea of brown. Nolan, and Rob (another UPSer sitting on the other side of me) were both in tears during the opening hymn. The spirit was so strong in there, even listening to the prelude, that I knew that a man of God was lying in the casket before us. I was brought to tears as well, as I could feel that the world was feeling the loss of a good man, yet the heavens were rejoicing the return of a faithful servant.

His children all gave beautiful and touching tributes, as did his daughter in law & his wife. From those talks (without too much detail), I learned that he put God first in his life, and centered himself and God with his family. He was diligent with his scripture study, family home evening, & even held four callings, in which he was thankful for the opportunities to be of service. One of the callings being the nursery leader, and he LOVED that calling. (He MUST have a heart of gold to love nursery.) His sweet wife was saying that he would read during his lunch break, then for FHE, he'd start the family discussions by talking about the things that had impressed him during his reading throughout the week. She said that UPS brought her all his items from the truck, and among those was a stack of magazines about 8" tall, consisting of Ensigns, New Era's, Church News & even Friend magazines. All marked up, highlighted, & notes made where impressions were made. Also a set of scriptures. One daughter told us that she was complaining about a class she was taking, and was wanting to drop out because the teacher was next to impossible to deal with. His comment to her was along the lines of "You will not benefit from something that doesn't take work and sacrifice to accomplish it." His Bishop read a few comments from the KSL message boards, both from people on his route. One person was telling about a time that she was out trying to shovel her sidewalk & driveway, but was having an extremely difficult time because of some injury or illness. Alan saw her struggling, pulled over, and took 20 minutes of his time to shovel for her. (Which considering was during the Holiday peak time, was a big sacrifice on his part.) Another customer on his route mentioned that the way that Alan composed himself, and the spirit he emulated, said to him that Alan was truly wanting to live a quality life. Another thing his wife said that moved me was "Women, cook for your husbands. Cherish them." And also "I want you all to know that we hold absolutely no malice or anger towards the driver of the dump truck. Please keep him in your prayers. He has a long road of recovery ahead of him, and he and his family are dealing with a lot of pain. I couldn't imagine having to live with that." I am sure she was referring to not only a physical recovery, but also the pain and heartache of knowing he was the cause of the death. How does a heart ever heal from something like that? I don't think it ever does. He will forevermore hold that pain and regret in his heart, and yet, she has forgiven him and is showing love and mercy towards him. Those comments touched me deeply.

There was so so so much more said, I couldn't possibly repeat it all. But it really did get me thinking. What kind of life am I leading right now? Am I living what I want to be remembered by right now? It brings a significant meaning to the phrase "Live each day as if it were your last." That does not suggest being careless and avoiding responsibility. No. Instead, leave the house each morning with a huge hug and an I love you. Whenever you speak to somebody, pay them a compliment, or an expression of gratitude for something they've done for you. Go out of your way to be of service to somebody, even if it's simply opening the door if their hands are full. Don't speak negatively about other people. Smile. Make sure there are no loose ends, no unsaid apologies. I know that I struggle in that, but I am striving to be a better person, one that will be remembered as kind and thoughtful, selfless and compassionate, caring and nurturing. I hope to be able to bless people's lives in one way or another. I was truly blessed by Alan's. I never met him, but he did bless me by being the type of man he was, by setting an example. By showing me how many lives were touched because of his disposition, and his kind spirit.

I have a lot to work towards.

The UPS truck, minus the banner.

The sea of brown out on the lawn by the church.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Just need a quick vent...

I am highly irritated at the moment for two reasons. First, people who don't watch what they're doing while driving, and second, those who make very inappropriate and insensitive comments.

Okay. Nolan's job obviously has him out on the roads all day every day, which also puts him out with idiot drivers. I have to admit that there are many many days that I have "day terrors" where my mind starts to go down the "what if" road, and I start to imagine up horrific scenarios where Nolan ends up on life support, or even worse, dead, due to involvement in a nasty accident while on the job. I end up having a near anxiety attack, wondering if I'm being mentally prepared for that day that I'll get the phone call. It sounds stupid, but I honestly do worry. And then when he comes home and tells me about all the idiot drivers that he had to deal with, and a few near misses, it only intensifies my concerns. 

I am well aware that fatalities happen more often than they should, and unfortunately they don't usually upset me because they're so common, and just a part of life. People making errors in their driving, which causes collisions, which causes the loss of innocent life. Tragically common. However, sometimes the circumstances stir up emotions because they hit close to home. Like today. 

A UPS driver was killed this morning when the driver of a dump truck made an error of judgement, and made a left hand turn in front of the UPSer. He was killed upon impact. Now, because of the error of one man, a family has lost their father, a wife has lost her husband. Even though I don't know this man, since UPS for some reason feels like a big family, I do feel some sort of a loss. Perhaps it's because I can imagine what his poor wife is going through right now, as news of this has rekindled my fears about Nolan being killed in his truck because of someone being impatient, or just not paying attention. What really hits me is the thought of never being able to say good bye. Just watching him walk out the door to leave for work, not really taking time for a hug & kiss goodbye, or even an I love you, because of the crazy chaos of getting the kids ready for school and out the door on time, assuming he'll return that evening. But then things like this happen within a split second, and your course of life is forever changed, or gone.

I can't even begin to tell you how much this frightens me. Please people, PAY ATTENTION ON THE ROAD!!! I don't care if you're in a hurry, just slow down and wait for 10 seconds. It's not worth risking it. Don't take people's family away from them.

The other thing that is irritating me, is that some people are making light of this saying things like "Less competition for FedEx" or "The FedEx guy jumped him" Oh yeah, I'm sure the families of the men involved are just getting a kick out of your wit, and laughing at your dry jokes, just as I would be if it were my husband killed in his UPS truck. (Rolls eyes). Seriously, it is not funny, and is very offensive. Some UPS/FedEx jokes are tolerable (and old), but in this case is very inappropriate. We're not laughing.

I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.

What is sad is that I am used to being tired and worn out, all the time. I guess if I really think about it, I pretty much chronically have mild flu like symptoms. Always tired, always achey, always with a headache of some degree. It's miserable when people ask me "How are you?" Well, if I say that I'm fine, or I'm good, they'll look at me and say "Yeah, right." Or "Liar." However, if I am honest when they ask me how I'm doing, and my answer is that I don't feel very well, they'll just roll their eyes and think "There she goes again. Does she ever feel well? Does she ever NOT complain?" It's a bit of a catch 22, and a stupid one at that. But really! I am sick of feeling yucky all the time! Like this weekend, for example, especially yesterday. Not only have I been feeling like I'm recovering from being hit by a train, but I apparently caught some sort of a bug or something. Yesterday, my stomach was literally grinding all day. I felt like something nasty was brewing and waiting for an opportunity to escape. I left church feeling like I was about to explode out either end, I wasn't sure. Then, we went to my parent's house for dinner, and I laid on the couch the whole time clutching my stomach. In the middle of the night last night, I broke out in a raging fever, my clothes were sticking to me (and completely damp), and I was still feeling like my stomach was tied up like a pretzel. I'm hoping that whatever it was, the fever was the grand finale, and that I'll start feeling better, which will take me back to my usual tired, achey and yucky self, which I'm looking forward to after yesterday. How sad is that?