Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thoughts about my Dad and his funeral



I just wanted to write down my thoughts of my Dad and the funeral while they are still fresh in my mind. The news of my father's passing came to an extreme shock. As far as we knew, he was healthy. He had some issues with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, but he always was so full of life and energy. He worked in Maui, Hawaii for Marriott Vacation Club, and sold time shares. He had come into Utah to visit family, and was planning to make a quick stop in Arizona to see a friend, then make his way to Tennessee where he was planning to spend a whole week with us.

I was at enrichment night and when I got home, my husband said that my sister had called urgently and was worried about my dad. He was supposed to meet my brother and sister for lunch but never showed up and he was missing. When I called my sister, she was calm but crying. She told me she had just found out that my dad had passed away. I felt like the wind got knocked out of me and then the tears came. It was such a shock. I asked her what happened. At that point she didn't know. She said that he didn't show up for lunch, and then they couldn't get a hold of him the rest of the afternoon. Out of worry, they decided to go looking for him.. so they just started driving up to Park City, where he was staying. My brother Grant called his hotel. He personally knew one of the security guards there, and had his cell phone number. He asked if he could check on my Dad's room. Sadly, the security guard called my brother back with bad news. By the time my brother and sister got up to Park City, they had removed my Dad's body. The police officer said that that he was also a medical examiner and said that after examining him and checking out his medical records, they suspected a seizure or a heart attack. They said his cholesterol and blood pressure where high and it appeared he had a larger heart than normal. They also said that he passed away in his sleep without any apparent struggle. My other brother met them up in Park City where they gathered his things and said a family prayer. They prayed that my Dad would be near us to help us through this difficult time.

I went through a wide range of emotions that night and Shane was up with me all night getting packed and just talking to me and letting me cry. I felt so sad that I was only a few days away from seeing him, but also happy that he passed in Utah and was able to spend his final days with his family. He was able to see his kids, his mom, siblings, aunt/uncle as well as many friends. He was truly deserving and truly blessed to have been able to pass that way, peacefully and after having been able to be with his dear family. It's amazing to me how much the Lord watches over us and how much he cares for us.

My father's passing has probably been one of the most spiritual experiences of my life. I felt him with me as I was packing up my things. I felt an air of calmness in getting ready. No sense of panic whatsoever. My dad has an extremely laid back, easy going personality. And I felt his calm presence comforting me as I prepared to leave. My house was a wreck and I felt like I need to get it cleaned up before I left out of town. Shane kept telling me that he'd get it done for me and just to worry about packing. But I just felt like I couldn't leave my home in chaos. I just needed to have it clean for my peace of mind. I could almost feel my dad's arms around me and him saying, "Jess... you really don't need to do this. But I understand and I'll help you." Everything got cleaned, and I got packed very quickly. The entire night was quite peaceful as I felt my dad near, and thought about him with calm tears. Shane helped me and just let me talk about how I was feeling. I am so grateful for him.

The next morning I was so worried about how this would effect Jada. She is really quite perceptive to how other people are feeling, and I didn't know how the sudden plans to go to Utah, my watery eyes, and learning that grandpa wouldn't be coming out to visit us would effect her. I prayed that I'd know the right things to do and say to her.

First thing in the morning I asked her if she'd like to go to Utah to see grammie. She said... "uh... no...." She was a little confused. Then I told her that we could have a fun little trip.. just some mommy Jada time, and we could pack some of her favorite snacks and I'd play her favorite toys with her on the plane and watch movies. Then once we got to Utah, we'd do lots of fun things with Grammie, Elise, Tommy, Grant and Kate and Wesley, Sheri... So now this sounded like great fun and she couldn't wait.

As Shane was taking us to the airport, I decided to tell her about Grandpa. She understands heaven, and that Heavenly Father and Jesus live there. Whenver we talk about that, she says, I wish I could go to heaven to see them, Mom. I tell her that someday when we die we will go to heaven to live with them again forever. But I don't think she knows what dying really means.

So I told her that before we were born, we lived with Heavenly Father and Jesus, then when we are born, we live on earth. I told her our bodies have things inside that help them to work. I said, just like toys have batteries inside them to help them to work, our bodies have things to help them work.. like our hearts and lungs. (Fortunately I did a preschool lesson with her about our hearts and lungs so she kinda knew what I was talking about). Then I said that when toys stop working, we can put in new batteries to make them work again, but our bodies are different. Once our hearts and lungs stop working then they stop working and we die. But when we die, we go back up to Heaven to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus.

Then I told her that grandpa died while he was in Utah, and that we were going out to Utah to be with our family. I said it was a sad time and that she'd probably see mommy and grammie and others cry. I told her that we cried because we miss Grandpa. But I also told her that it's also a happy time because heaven is a very happy place and that I was happy that Grandpa was with Heavenly Father and Jesus, and that he was happy living there.

I'm not sure how much of that she absorbed, but she seemed content with the whole thing. So once that was over, I felt a huge wave of relief come over me. I was happy that I told her, and happy that she seemed okay with it, even if she may not have completely understood everything.

Our flight to Utah was really great. Everything went so smoothly, and I felt my dad's presence near as we traveled. I felt his love and concern over me.. pregnant and traveling alone with Jada. I felt him there making sure that I arrived in Utah safely. Everything was on-time, and I didn't run into any problems. People also went out of their way to be kind and generous to us. Jada is an amazing kid. She's so easy, and is incredibly easy to fly with. She get so excited over the simplist things. She was so happy to have some fun treats and to spend some one on one time with me playing with her toys. She was also excited about getting peanuts and drinks on the plane. Our layover was pretty easy too. We both got some exercise walking around the airport and she thought it was so much fun riding on the riding walkways over and over throughout the airport. She also had fun picking out some fun things in the shops.

She was so excited once we landed and I told her we were in Utah. She couldn't wait to see everyone. And everyone spoiled her with hugs, kisses, and lots of fun treats that she doesn't normally get to eat at my house! She's been in little girl heaven.

Although this has been a rough time, it has been such a comfort being all together with my brothers and sisters. We have all stayed really close, but haven't been all together for about 4 years. So it has been such a great time seeing them. My brother had all of us kids over for dinner, and we spent the evening reminissing. We ate my dad's favorite dessert, rice pudding, watched some old home movies, and went through some funny letters and pictures that we had given my dad when we were kids. He had brought them out with him and it was so much fun to go through and read. My dad had some of his music that he had arranged or written, stored on an old keyboard that he had given to my brother Grant. So we were able to all listen to his music. It was a great night.

These last two days have been the most difficult, the viewing and the funeral... but somehow we all made it through. My brother put together a DVD slideshow for the viewing of pictures of my Dad and it was awesome to see all of his pictures from his growing up years, him with us kids, and him with grandkids and also his time he spent in Hawaii. When I looked at my dad lying in the casket, I was really dismayed that it didn't look like my Dad. But I could hear my Dad saying, "It's just my body... but the real me is right here..." It was also such a comfort to see all of my grandma, cousins, family, and friends there. I felt so lucky to have such wonderful loved ones.

Shane wasn't sure if he'd be able to make it in with all he had going on at work and the expense of the tickets, but he flew out and made it in time for the funeral. I'm so glad he could come out here.. I didn't realize how much I needed him until he got here. He's been a tremendous support to me, and I'm so glad he could be here.

The funeral (today) was the hardest. I kept forgetting to breath all day long. I was kind of dreading this.. realizing that I didn't feel quite prepared for this. Before they began the funeral, we had a family prayer and me and my siblings looked at my dad and all embraced before they shut the casket. I felt my dad so happy and proud that we were all so close to one another. His service was beautiful. My two brothers talked, as well as other friends and family. While my Dad lived in Hawaii, he adopted a kid named Marvin into his life. He and my step mom supported him while he was on his mission and was a big part of his life as he got married and as he and his beautiful bride had their first child. He became a god-parent to their sweet daughter. They were able to come to the funeral and sing a beautiful song to pay tribute to my Dad. To close, Elise, Sheri and I sang the first two verses of the closing hymn, "God be with you till we meet again." and the congregation joined in the last verse.

My dad was buried in a beautiful cemetary right by the Bountiful temple. It is on a hill and is a gorgeous site. I think it is where he would have liked to be buried. This day was particulary hard, I think mostly just a flood of different emotions that I'm trying to sort through and it has really started to hit me this evening, so I've been pretty weepy. But I know that my Dad wouldn't want me to be sad, but to remember the happy, fun, and funny things about my Dad. I feel so grateful to have had him in my life and I know that right now there are other important things for him to do in Heaven. I have felt sad that he won't be here to talk to, but I have felt him tell me that he'll be able to now be there for me all of the time. I have also felt sad that I was only a few days away from seeing him, and sad I was one of the only ones that didn't get to see him before he passed. But I have also felt him tell me again, that he's still here and that he didn't really go anywhere. It's been incredible feeling him so close. Unlike anything I've ever felt in my life before, and I hope that I continue to feel him nearby throughout my life. I know he'll always be concered for his friends and family. He treasured his relationships more than anything.

I'm also really grateful that I had the opportunity to live with him for a while in Highschool. My parents divorced when I was 15, and I lived with my mom up until I was 18, and lived with my Dad and stepmom for my last year in high school before I started college. I'm so grateful for so many wonderful times I got to spend with him.

He was such a fun and kind Dad. He loved to help and serve others and I was effected by that at a young age. There was an elderly widow that lived just down the street from us, and he encouraged me to ask her if she could teach me to crochet. So once or twice a week, I'd go to visit her in her home, and she would teach me how to crochet. He was always mowing people's lawns and taking us to nursing homes to sing and to visit with the lonely. His generous heart is something that has greatly impacted my life. He never had an unkind word to say about anyone. Even after having gone through a messy divorce with my mom, he never once said anything bad about her, and would often let me know that despite everything, he still cared for her very much. To have that kind of Christ like love has and will affect me for the rest of my life.

I once asked him what his favorite quote was. After spending about a week thinking about it, he e-mailed me back and said that his favorite quote was actually from a Rolling Stones song:

You cant always get what you want
You cant always get what you want
You cant always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you might find
You get what you need
He had a real zest for life. He was always up for trying new things. He loved to try new foods, listen to new music, visit new places, meet new people, try new things. And throughout our lives, he encouraged us to do the same. He truly embraced all that life had to offer.

One thing I will miss the most, is his wonderful listening ear. He was such a great listener. I always felt like I could be myself around him, that I could just say what I felt, and he would always listen and have nothing but kind and supportive words. I always felt his love and concern for me as I talked to him and I felt like he knew me better than most others because he took the time to listen. We also had very similar personalities and interests and I feel like we could talk and relate to one another very well. I felt like I understood him. I'll really miss that so much. I will also miss his visits. Every year since Jada has been born, he's made the time to come out for about a week to spend time with us. That always made me feel so special knowing that he probably only had so many weeks of vacation time per year, but that he'd spend a whole week visiting and spending time with us. He really treasured his family and I will always take that with me in my life.

Someone from the Marriott Vacation Club where he worked started a guestbook on legacy.com, for people to share their thoughts about my dad. It was wonderful reading all of the beautiful things that others noticed and felt about my Dad. So many were blessed to have had him in their lives. Here's a link to the guestbook: http://www.legacy.com/HJNews/GB/GuestbookView.aspx?PersonID=119447429

One last, kind of funny thing. As I said before, my dad was planning on being a bird watcher for Halloween and going trick-o-treating with Jada. So I told him to bring out some khaki pants and binoculars and that I'd see if I could find something that looked like a safari hat and a hiking vest at Good Will. So in his things that he brought with him, he had packed some binoculars, but also decided he'd make his costume more hick-like to pay tribute to Tennessee. He's always teasing me about living in the South. So in his things he had a mullet wig and some really funny looking back woodsy clothes.... ha ha... that's my dad.

I've received so many calls, visits, e-mails from friends offering their love, prayers, and support. It has felt so great hearing from many of you. I feel so blessed and grateful. Thanks for your kind words. I haven't booked a ticket home yet, but I'll probably stay a little bit longer before I have to go back home and the routine and schedule. Hopefully I'll just get some nice quiet time to breath and some fun time with my siblings and friends.

Thanks again for your love.



Sunday, October 26, 2008

Obituary: David William Johnson




David William Johnson 1955 ~ 2008 On October 23, 2008, our beloved father, spouse, brother, son, grandfather and friend, David William Johnson, passed away in his sleep in Park City, Utah.Born August 3, 1955 in Salt Lake City, Utah, David lived in the Salt Lake area most of his life and later moved to Lahaina, Hawaii. David loved music and was an accomplished pianist, composer and arranger. He worked for Daynes Music and other businesses in the music industry for many years, and then later worked in real estate. Employed by Marriott Vacation Club for the past 13 years he has enjoyed working both in Park City and Lahaina. He was recognized with many awards for his dedication and success, enjoying his final working days with the Ritz-Carlton Club. An active member of the LDS church, David served a mission to the Fresno, CA mission and has held many callings including counselor in the bishopric, member of the high council, teacher and organist. David was extremely generous and kind. He rarely thought of himself and always made time to make others around him feel safe and happy. He married Helen (Tami) Fields in 1978 and had five children, Jessica, Grant, Sheri, Tom and Elise. They later divorced. He married Janette Crouch Randall in 1996. Survivors include his five children, Jessica (Shane) Powers, Grant (Kate) Johnson, Sheri Mata, Tom Johnson, Elise Johnson, and two grandchildren. He is also survived by his wife Janette and her three children Sunny, Beau, Cam, god-children Marvin and Uilani Tevaga, his mother, Cherill (Barlow) Gilbert, siblings Jill (Richard) Rowley, Stephen (Ruth) Johnson and Mary (Bill) Thorup. David's greatest love was his family. He will be sorely missed. Funeral services will be held 1 p.m. Wed. Oct. 29, 2008 at Linquist's Bountfiul Mortuary 727 N. 400 E. 1 pm. where friends and family may call Tues. from 6-8 p.m. and 11:45-12:45 prior to the services. Interment at Lakeview Cemetery. Condolences may be shared at www.lindquistmortuary.com

Friday, October 24, 2008

24 Week Belly Shot & My Dad



A few days belated, but here's my 24 week belly shot. Little baby is sitting much higher in my belly than Jada did. I think she's laying sideways in my belly, and it's hard to tell but it looks a little bit lop sided. Shane thinks it's funny :)

Also, some sad news for my family. My dad passed away sometime today, (actually yesterday since it is now 3:00am) He passed away very unexpectedly at the young age of 53. His father passed at 58 of a heart attack, so they suspect a heart attack. My dad lives out in Hawaii and was in Utah visiting with my brothers and sister and other family, and was a few days from making his next stop to spend a week with us in Tennessee. I miss him dearly already. I have a very strong testimony of death and of the afterlife and I know he's in a good place and it was his time to go. But I'm wishing I could have seen him one last time and it's hard realizing that I won't be seeing him for a very long time. Also, I'm struggling figuring out to tell Jada as she was so excited for Grandpa to come out to see her. She is going to be a peacock for Halloween, and my dad was going to dress up as a bird watcher with a safari hat and binoculars and was so excited to take her trick-o-treating. We were really looking forward to seeing him. I am however, very grateful that he passed in Utah with his family nearby and not alone in Hawaii. I know that Heavenly Father had a hand in that, and I'm grateful that all of my family will be able to come out to Utah to be there all together.

My Dad got to spend a lot of quality time with my brother's and sisters this last week. They went to a football game, a museum, and just goofed off. Here's a picture of my dad a few days ago with my two brothers and sis. He was goofing off doing wheelies in an old wheelchair and doing duets on the piano with my brother. My sister said she got a lot of great pictures while he was out there.



So Jada and I will be flying out to Utah (technically today) and will be out there for at least 2 weeks or so. But I know all my dear friends who read this will send your love and prayers during this difficult time and I'm so grateful to have such amazing and supportive friends!

I'm not sure if I'll post anything in the next few weeks, but here's a sneak peak at Jada's Halloween costume. Pretty as a peacock.



Love you. Thanks for your prayers.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Year Book

Renee did this on her site and I thought this was so funny. I had to try it.
www.yearbookyourself.com


1952 and 1966


1976 and 1990


1998 & my REAL graduation picture in 1998. This cracks me up because the hair is almost identical! So I was was either up-to-date with the hair trends (which would be shocking... generally I'm severely challenged when it comes to fashion or hair trends!) That, or I had the worst hairstlye of 1998. I was thinking these hairstyles from this website are probably a collection of all the worst hair-do's of the past 50 years, you know....just to make the whole year-book thing funny. Which would make more sense with my hair and fashion problems! ha ha And yes I really had bleached blond hair in highschool...lol

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Conference Weekend

Shane's parents came to visit for the weekend. They are usually off traveling the world for business, but finally their travels brought them to Nashville. Jada was so excited for them to come visit us!



In between Conference sessions on Saturday, we made our way to the Country Ham Fest in Spring Hill. We had a rootin' tootin' good time!



I got up early and went for a 6 1/2 mile run/walk on Saturday. Jada even walked/jogged most of the last mile with me! I set my iPod to shuffle and every now and then the Tabernacle Choir would come on. It was a nice start to conference weekend. My favorite song that they sing is Consider the Lilies... it always makes me a little teary, and sometimes in a downright cry. The simplistic lyrics help me remember how important we are in the Savior's eyes.



He loves all of his creations, big and small. "He clothes the lilies of the field, He feeds the birds of the sky." How easy it is sometimes to forget just how much he loves us. If he cares about the lilies of the field, something that is so simple and easily overlooked... then why would he ever forsake us? His atonement extends to everyone of us. All we need to do is have faith and believe that he loves us and will heal us. "He will heal those who trust Him."



I need that healing daily in my life and I am so grateful for it. Sometimes when we are stressed, depressed, or detached.. and not feeling so great about ourselves, it's hard for us to believe that He could love us in the state we are in. But that's when we need to put our faith into play even more. I have experienced His healing countless times in my life and that's why this song touches me so much. Conference was so great. It uplifts me so much and gives me a spiritual recharge and healing that I need. I'm so grateful for our leaders, they emanate the Savior's love and concern for us so flawlessly and I feel that as they speak and as they bear testimony of Him.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

20 Week Belly Bump



Okay, I know this is a little belated! This is my 20 week belly shot that happened to land on my hubby's birthday. This post is pretty belated as I am almost 22 weeks now! But it is so nice to be over 1/2 way though! Wahoo!!!

I think my scanner needs a cleaning... these didn't scan so well! I think we've told almost everyone, but just in case you didn't catch the news, we are having a baby girl! Shane I think, was a little disappointed. He was really hoping for a son. I guess he's really outnumbered now... ha ha. But Jada on the other hand, couldn't be happier to have a little sister to love and play with. I'm so excited to have another girl. I'm already feeling quite a bit of movement. She loves to dance for me at 10 o'clock every night. I love to just lay down and feel her move... it's amazing! I'm so in love with this little girl already. I think little girls are so much fun.
Like we didn't have enough frills and lace in our house!



The ultrasound came out normal, and they said she looks very healthy! Here's some pictures of her doing summer saults.



Okay, I have a dilema, I have no idea how many months pregnant I am! I could never figure this out when I was pregnant with Jada too. I have a book.. pregnancy week by week. So I remember which week I am.. but never know how that correlates to months.. I know.. pretty dumb, eh? People ask me all the time.. and I feel so dumb not knowing! Okay, I found a chart that broke up the months depending on what week you are. Tell me if this is right.

1-4 weeks - 1 month
5-8 weeks - 2 months
9-13 weeks - 3 months
14 - 17 weeks - 4 months
18 - 21 weeks - 5 months
22 - 26 weeks - 6 months
27 - 30 weeks - 7 months
31 - 35 weeks - 8 months
36 - 40 weeks - 9 months

Okay, so I am almost 22 weeks, does that mean I'm 6 months along? Or do I say I'm 6 months when that month is over? Does that make sense? It's so confusing to me!